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Last Updated: Monday, 3 September 2007, 10:35 GMT 11:35 UK
Sweetenham quits British swimming
Bill Sweetenham
Sweetenham has not shied from controversy
Controversial British Swimming performance director Bill Sweetenham has stepped down after asking to be released from his contract early.

The uncompromising Australian, who was cleared of bullying last year after a three-month inquiry, was contracted until after the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

But British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes allowed him to leave for personal reasons.

"Bill leaves us with our best wishes for his future," said Sparkes.

"We asked him to join British Swimming following the Sydney Olympics in 2000 when our records were at a low ebb.

"Since then his whole approach to international competitive swimming has revitalized the fortunes of the national squad and had exactly the effect and impact that we hoped it would across the sport in the UK.

"Under Bill's guidance the British Swimming squad has achieved some of its best ever results with record hauls of medals from World Championships and Commonwealth Games."

The results we've collectively achieved have been quite outstanding

Bill Sweetenham

Sweetenham released a statement thanking those he had worked with, however he would not expand on his reasons for quitting.

"I'd like to thank everybody, in particular swimmers and coaches, who have supported the role I have had within British Swimming," he said.

"My request for release from my contract was for various reasons that will remain personal to myself.

"The results we've collectively achieved have been quite outstanding. Best ever results at World Championships, European Championships and Commonwealth Games are a testament to all those involved and justified spending the past seven years away from my home and my family.

"I would also like to thank the media for a largely positive approach and coverage of the sport through my time with British Swimming.

"I believe that British Swimming can look forward to a great future with a tremendously talented group of athletes, coaches and staff. I wish everyone well for the future."

It was always Bill's intention to leave after Beijing and, knowing that, we have already made plans and started to implement the process to appoint a successor

David Sparkes
Sweetenham had already made it clear he would not be renewing his contract.

Last December, he requested he be released from his contract either at the conclusion of the World Championships in March 2007 or the summer meets last month.

Sparkes added: "It was always Bill's intention to leave after Beijing and, knowing that, we have already made plans and started to implement the process to appoint a successor of the same proven quality.

"The key was to ensure this procedure sought not only the best candidate but also in a time frame that ensured as much continuity as possible for our athletes and their coaches as they prepare for next year's Olympics.

"This process is coming to a successful conclusion and we will be making an announcement shortly on our succession plan."

British Olympic Association chief executive officer Simon Clegg also thanked Sweetenham for his work with British swimming.

"His extensive knowledge of the sport and his considerable coaching skills have undoubtedly left the sport in a strong position," said Clegg.

Last week, Sweetenham admitted he was still bitter at his treatment in the UK, claiming: "They brought me in to change British swimming but when it got tough, British swimming wanted to change me. It was heart-breaking."

SEE ALSO
Sweetenham still upset by claims
30 Aug 07 |  Swimming
The race to replace Sweetenham
01 Jun 07 |  Swimming
Sweetenham set to stay after 2008
31 May 07 |  Swimming
Davies backs Sweetenham methods
10 Jan 06 |  Swimming
Sweetenham is cleared of bullying
04 Jan 06 |  Swimming
Swimming calendar
17 Oct 00 |  Swimming


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