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Nesbit Added To GB Leadership Wish List

Nov 27, 2012  - Craig Lord

British coaches and team staff have added a name to their wish list of those they would wish to lead them as the London 2012 host prepares to make two big appointments: head coach and performance director.

If John Atkinson has emerged as a team favourite to take on the performance role after successful work as Bill Sweetenham's assistant, with the Britain youth team and as leader of the Paralympic team, then he and Bill Furniss, mentor to Rebecca Adlington and still head coach at Nova Centurion, have competition in the shape of Chris Nesbit for either role.

Head of Britain's offshore centre at The Southport School on the Australian Gold Coast,  Nesbit stayed at the helm of that programme when Britain decided to pull out once Sweetenham had left. The move was made because Britain wished to plough all resources into its Intensive Training Centres back home. Many thought that a mistake - and there is evidence to suggest that it was. 

Coaches and Britain team staff have contacted SwimNews to add Nesbit, head of the England Commonwealth Games team of late, to the list of those "who could provide the leadership we need, carry the respect of the team and get the job done … but only if the board of British Swimming let those who understand performance get on with the job".

A former military man, Nesbit - who coached Katy Sexton to the first world long-course crown ever won in a solo event by a British woman, back in 2003 in Barcelona over 200m backstroke - worked well with Sweetenham and would be an ideal candidate to get back to some of the basic truths that the Australian insisted on before his departure in 2007 but which slipped away in the years that followed, according to senior figures who submitted reports to the review of Britain's London 2012 performances.

As one source put it: "Sweetenham's revolution was not completed … unless it is, Britain will not move on."