Rebecca Adlington criticises British Swimming chiefs

Rebecca Adlington - British swimming in a mess

Rebecca Adlington has criticised British Swimming for the delay in naming a new head coach, calling the situation an "absolute mess".

Dennis Pursley quit after GB fell short of its target of five to seven medals at London 2012, collecting just three.

British Swimming initiated a review, but said the results showed their programme does not need an overhaul.

"Why is it taking so long? We've been dying for them to appoint a head coach for months," Adlington told BBC Sport.

David Sparkes, chief executive of British Swimming, said that he was "depressed" with the team's performance in the pool in London.

"It was unbelievable and the depression was only lifted when I saw what our Paralympic swimmers came in and did," he said.

"There's no question it should have been better and nobody is more disappointed than me. There are huge questions to answer but that's what I believe the review has done.

"If you look at all the results, across all the disciplines, I don't think there's any justification for me to consider my position at this time."

Sparkes added that he was "disappointed" with Adlington's criticisms.

He said she had been involved in the review process but added that he would welcome further direct talks to discuss the situation.

Michael Jamieson's silver and two bronzes for Adlington were Team GB's only medals in the pool at the London Olympics, after they were set a target of five to seven.

British Swimming's performance director Michael Scott quit soon after Pursley, leaving Britain's national team without two key figures.

The findings of the panel, which included Bob Bowman, the coach of Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps, and Paralympics GB chef de mission Craig Hunter, showed that the "programme is not broken".

But Adlington, who won gold in the 400m and 800m freestyle in Beijing, says she is disappointed the national governing body did not select replacements before conducting the report.

"We don't know why a head coach hasn't been appointed to help with the review," said Adlington.

"Surely, that would make more sense for the head coach to be appointed before the review, even if it was just one who said 'look this is semi-permanent, you might want to continue after the review but you might help us until then making these decisions'."

"Us swimmers are like, who do we go to? And this is the biggest thing. We'd like to know who the person is we can go to if we have a problem or if we want something to happen.

"We like routine, we like structure. We're very regimented and we like to know who is going to be leading us.

"A lot of us don't know who we are going to at the moment. Who do we speak to? It's awful what's been going on."

Scott, who held the role of performance director since 2007 before stepping aside at the end of last month, was based in Australia and unable to relocate to Britain.

Following the Australian's departure, Adlington said she would back a British figurehead to lead the sport forward.

"If British people do apply and they are qualified, I do think it would work better being British," she said.

"[We need] people who live in this country, know how British people work, know the system, know quite a lot of us athletes, know the coaches and can communicate with them.

"I just think it would improve things. It would help communication. I think we would be able to get the ball rolling quicker. It wouldn't take a year to 18 months to get to know the system. They'd know it straight away."

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