NO ONE could argue about Kevin Neil's contribution outside the pool, but in the end the poor performance of the Australian swim team at the London Olympics, its worst since the 1976 games in Montreal, cost him his job.
After four years as chief executive of Swimming Australia, Neil resigned yesterday, saying with reviews into the reasons behind the poor performance underway, it was "appropriate to step aside to allow the sport to progress to its next exciting phase".
Newly elected Swimming Australia president Barclay Nettlefold said Neil had made a significant contribution to the sport.
Nettlefold pointed to a new broadcast deal with Network Ten, a 40% increase in Swimming Australia revenue, and the coming Aquatic Super Series in Perth where competitors from Australia, China and South Africa will compete for $500,000 in prize money as examples of Neil's legacy.
"Kevin was also instrumental in the implementation of a range of important initiatives targeted at growing the sport at a community level, and the development of an aquatic facilities strategy targeted at protecting access to water space for swimming clubs and building relationships with pool operators," Nettlefold said.
Neil said he had thoroughly enjoyed his association with Swimming Australia.
"I have witnessed great changes and seen how swimming continues to be Australia's premier Olympic and Commonwealth Games sport. I am proud to have played a role in this development and the enhancement of the sport's revenue base," he said.
Nettlefold said the review now underway was aimed at returning Australia to its place at the sport globally.
"One of our clear objectives is to ensure the high performance area of the sport exceeds the growing international competition challenges," he said.
"We are 100% committed to ensuring our elite national programs are well resourced and fully supported at every level to ensure optimum swimming performance.
"We will now examine what primary areas of expertise the new CEO is required to have to meet the immediate and long-term vision of the sport."
Board member, Jeremy Turner, who has had vast business experience in Queensland, has agreed to serve as interim CEO until a replacement for Neil is appointed.
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