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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 May 2007, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
Sweetenham set to stay after 2008
By Simon Austin

Bill Sweetenham
Sweetenham was cleared of bullying last year
Bill Sweetenham is set to stay on as a consultant after he steps down as British Swimming's performance director at the end of the 2008 Olympics.

The Australian informed swimming chiefs in February of his intention to leave the post and the search for a successor has already begun.

"We need to build on Bill's legacy," British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes told BBC Sport.

"Bill has indicated he still wants to have some sort of role after Beijing."

Sparkes confirmed that a consultant - reported to be former British club coach Kelvin Juba - has been travelling the world to search for elite coaches who could replace Sweetenham.

"We've had to start the process reasonably early, to find out who wants to work in a British environment," Sparkes said.

Bill has left some good foundations, but perhaps now it's time for a shift of focus

Steve Parry
GB Olympic bronze medallist

"We are still giving some thought to the future coaching structure for elite swimming in this country.

"Once we have done that, it will be a question of whether they fit the criteria for what we want and whether we can afford them.

"The only definite criteria we have at the moment is for someone who can build on Bill's legacy."

Sparkes said he "ideally wanted" to have a replacement, or replacements, in place before the start of the Beijing Olympics, although it was likely an announcement would be made after the Games.

Sweetenham's shoes will be difficult to fill, says Sparkes.

"Bill is a larger-than-life character and I think he has done a great job for us," Sparkes said.

"He offends some people, but he's in the business of winning medals and not friends.

"Sometimes things have to be said."

Olympic bronze medallist Steve Parry believes the new appointment will bring fresh opportunities for British swimming.

"I believe we are in exciting times with good foundations to move forward to the 2012 Games," Parry, who won bronze in the 200m butterfly at the 2004 Olympics, told BBC Sport.

"Bill has left some good foundations, but perhaps now it's time for a shift of focus."

The Australian was cleared of bullying swimmers following a three-month inquiry last year.

Sweetenham predicts tough Euros
29 Jul 06 |  Swimming
Sweetenham unfazed by 2008 plans
19 Jul 06 |  Swimming
Sweet success
22 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games
Sweetenham agrees to role switch
13 Jan 06 |  Swimming
Sweetenham is cleared of bullying
04 Jan 06 |  Swimming
Swimming calendar
17 Oct 00 |  Swimming


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