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Last Updated: Friday, 1 June 2007, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
The race to replace Sweetenham
By Giles Long

Bill Sweetenham
Sweetenham will step down as performance director in 2008

British Swimming is preparing to triple its elite-coaching budget to more than 5m in order to attract some of the world's finest coaches.

The current performance director, Bill Sweetenham, has had a massive effect on British Swimming.

Chief executive David Sparkes told BBC Sport that the Australian had brought about "seismic and cultural" changes, which have made British swimmers "far tougher and better prepared".

Yet the forceful, larger-than-life Australian has also courted controversy and was cleared of bullying last year only after a three-month inquiry.

Even though he could remain as a consultant, the end of Sweetenham's reign as performance director after the 2008 Olympics will leave a big void at the top of the sport.

Here are the runners and riders to step into the breach.

GENNADI TOURESTSKI

GENNADI TOURESTSKI
Tourestski was jailed for a month in 1995
A Russian who cut his skills under the Soviet regime and famously coached the great Aleksandre Popov, the only swimmer other than Jonny Weissmuller to successfully defend the gold medal in the 100m freestyle at the Olympics.

Touretski is one of the sport's true thinkers and pioneered Michael Klim's straight arm 'windmill' freestyle.

He has coached swimmers to more than 40 world records, with many of his stars citing his unique coaching style as the key to their success.

But he does not come without baggage. A safe stolen from his house in Canberra, Australia, in April 2001 was found to contain the banned steroid Stanozolol.

Charges were later dropped after Touretski said the tablets were for his wife, who was excused from testifying against her husband under Australian law.

He was also been fined and jailed for a month in 1995 after biting an attendant on an international flight, and is renowned as a colourful, controversial and at times volatile personality.

STEPHAN WIDMER

The Brisbane-based Swiss coach, who is by his own admission "intense", has produced major gold medal success at every level with Libby Lenton and Leisel Jones.

In May 2007 he was awarded the Australian Coach of the Year Award, although his split with Jones in April was said by many to have left him utterly devastated.

PETER BANKS

Swimmer Brooke Bennett hugs coach Peter Banks
Swimmer Brooke Bennett hugs coach Peter Banks
Coached Brooke Bennett, the 800m Olympic gold medallist from the Blue Waves club near Tampa in Florida.

Not backward in coming forward in spelling out what he expects from his swimmers or in letting them know when they are not producing what is required.

The Dublin-born coach watched his golden girl miss out on 2004 Olympic qualification by two seconds and with that, saw a possible half a million dollars slide away.

USA Swimming had offered the incentive of $1m to the woman who breaks the world record en route to winning the 800m freestyle in Athens.

If she did it, $500,000 would go to the coach. As Bennett won the 800m in Atlanta and Sydney, the target seemed realistic.

ORJAN MADSEN

Is currently Sweetenham's equivalent in Germany and will not be available until after the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Results from German swimming have been in long-term decline since the fall of the Berlin Wall, due in part to the collapse of the East German state-sponsored doping regime.

But the Norwegian is meticulous in his approach and his focus is solely on producing great results at the Beijing Games.

Claims from some former German international swimmers that the current team is over-tested and under-trained will only fully be put to the test next year.

PIERRE LAFONTAINE

Pierre Lafontaine
Lafontaine is head of Canadian swimming
The Canadian CEO of Swim Canada is flamboyant and hugely successful.

Had input into the swimming careers of Americans Anthony Erwin and Gary Hall Jnr, who tied for gold at the Olympic gold medal in the 50m freestyle at the Sydney 2000 games.

La Fontaine has got passion and ability in spades, but it will be difficult to prize him away from his home programme and role within Swim Canada.

FRANK BUSCH

An American who has coached the University of Arizona Wildcats for the last 17 years.

Trained three of the four swimmers in the gold-medal winning South African 4x100m freestyle relay team (Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns and Ryk Neethling) at the Athens 2004 Olympics.

Currently works with Britain's Simon Burnett, a Commonwealth gold medallist and British record holder in the 50, 100 and 200m freestyle.

Busch takes a "swimmer-student" approach to coaching, seeking fulfilment for his athletes both in and out of the pool.

Long-term strategy is the ethos behind the success at Arizona and in Simon Burnett it might well bring success for Great Britain.

But whether that success will come from a US or British base remains to be seen.

DAVID MARSH

The Floridian is one of the best loved coaches in American college swimming. And results in the pool have matched his popularity away from it.

Under his stewardship, Auburn University in Alabama have seen incredible results, topping the NCAA (the collegiate swimming league in the US), which is no mean feat considering many of the world's finest swimmers are attracted to the US on university scholarships.

Marsh is a people person whose mantra is "work with the person - not just the swimmer".

This approach puts him - with the exception of Frank Busch - in a slightly different pool from the others on this list.

SEE ALSO
Sweetenham set to stay after 2008
31 May 07 |  Swimming
Sharron Davies column
03 Apr 07 |  Swimming
Sweetenham agrees to role switch
13 Jan 06 |  Swimming
Davies backs Sweetenham methods
10 Jan 06 |  Swimming
Pickering slams Sweetenham result
05 Jan 06 |  Swimming
Sweetenham is cleared of bullying
04 Jan 06 |  Swimming
Sweetenham slams 'negative' media
01 Aug 05 |  Swimming
Swimming calendar
17 Oct 00 |  Swimming


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