British Swimming reveal Bill Furniss as their new head coach

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Rebecca Adlington and Bill Furniss
Rebecca Adlington and Bill Furniss celebrate the swimmer's 400m freestyle bronze at the London 2012 Olympics

Bill Furniss, the man who helped guide Rebecca Adlington to four Olympic medals, has been named as British Swimming's new head coach.

Furniss, 58, replaces American Dennis Pursley, who left after London 2012.

Former England Rugby and GB Basketball performance director Chris Spice takes over from previous incumbent Michael Scott, who resigned in November.

They are tasked with revitalising the sport after failing to achieve their London Olympic medal target of five.

"In Britain we have some of the best coaches and most talented swimmers in the world," Furniss said.

"My role will be to work with them and their programmes to achieve the small margins required to convert finalists into medallists."

Unlike his predecessor Pursley, Furniss plans to be heavily involved with athletes and coaches on a daily basis, while Spice will provide what is described as "overall strategic leadership" to the World Class Swimming Programme.

"One of the key things that attracted me to the position is the great potential I see within swimming and based on the solid foundation in place already, I believe we can build for an exciting future," said Spice.

"I'm delighted to be working with Bill and I feel it's a team that can take swimming to a new level and achieve fantastic things."

Following a "disappointing" London Olympics, British Swimming conducted an independent review of their failings. Although the programme was deemed "not broken" they suffered a £4m funding cut for the Rio 2016 Olympic cycle.

Chairman of the debrief panel and British Swimming Board Member Craig Hunter believes the team of Spice and Furniss can help the sport move in the right direction.

"The combined knowledge, skill sets and experience of Chris and Bill will provide the perfect leadership and support required to implement the recommendations from the debrief and take British Swimming to the next level in Rio 2016," said Hunter.

The move is likely to please Adlington, who previously criticised the sport for delaying new appointments and stated the new head coach should be British.

The news does however increase the expectation that the swimmer, who has revealed she will make a "major announcement" about her future on Tuesday, will now confirm her retirement from the sport.

"If I was going to carry on, I would only want to be coached by Bill [Furniss]," Adlington told the BBC in late 2012.