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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 January 2006, 18:57 GMT
Davies backs Sweetenham methods
David Davies

Olympic medallist David Davies has backed British swimming chief Bill Sweetenham to deliver a bumper crop of medals at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Last week, Sweetenham was cleared of allegations of bullying.

"Bill has radical ideas and some older members of the team found it difficult to adapt," Davies told BBC Five Live.

"He's got a very successful programme and some great youngsters coming through and you can expect a very successful Olympics in Beijing."

The Times alleged the 55-year-old Australian's methods had contributed to the retirement of 13 Olympic athletes.

The younger members enjoyed his ideas and he's made me a far more professional swimmer
David Davies

But British Swimming cleared Sweetenham after a three-month independent inquiry.

"Bill's a great leader, very passionate about his sport and someone we look up to," said Davies, who won bronze in the 1500m freestyle in Athens.

"He knows what it takes to get success at the highest level and the allegations of bullying were totally blown out of proportion.

"The younger members enjoyed his ideas and he's made me a far more professional swimmer.

"He has also sat me down and given me a right ear bashing, but that's what you need sometimes.

"I can't judge whether the British team had it too easy before Bill arrived [in 2001], but I know that we're now one of the most professional swimming teams in the world."

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