Swimming - Britain's swimmers 'will learn from funding cut'

British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes is adamant that UK Sport's funding cut will never happen again.

Sportsbeat
Swimming - Britain's swimmers 'will learn from funding cut'
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Michael Jamieson of Britain

Britain's swimmers saw their funding towards the Rio 2016 Olympics slashed by almost 15 per-cent from just over £25m to £21.4m having failed to hit their medal target of five to seven at London 2012.

Just three medals were won, Michael Jamieson's 200m breaststroke silver and two bronzes from double Olympic champion from Beijing 2008 Rebecca Adlington in the 400m freestyle and 800m freestyle.

That led to a review into what went wrong and why with Michael Scott resigning last month as performance director after it strongly advised him to be permanently based in Britain.

Scott had split his time between his native Australia and Britain but as yet a replacement has not been found while Dennis Pursley's successor as head coach hasn't been sought either.

That drew criticism from Adlington which Sparkes wanted to hear firsthand with the sport one of five, archery, badminton, judo and volleyball the others, to have their funding reduced.

Sparkes doesn't have any complaints, giving off a sense that he expected it to be greater, and has vowed to ensure Britain does hit its medal target at the Rio Olympics in four years time and beyond.

"Overall we are satisfied with the outcome. While disappointed with the award for swimming, we recognise we need to rebuild confidence that we can deliver medals at Olympic level consistently before we can demand more investment," said Sparkes.

"We had a disappointing Olympics in swimming and we now need to focus our energies on driving the cultural change needed moving forward and this will be built around a no compromise approach underpinned by performance management and strong effective leadership.

"Everyone involved in swimming remains committed to working hard towards achieving success in Rio and beyond."

It was a mixed afternoon for Sparkes as, despite the reduction to Britain's Olympic swimmers, the Paralympic team as well as the divers, synchronised swimmers and women's water polo team all saw their funding increase.

Britain's Paralympic swimmers will received £11.7m, the divers £7.5m, the synchronised swimmers nearly an extra million to £4.3m and the women's water polo a significant increase of £1.5m to £4.5m.

Sparkes, whose own position has been called into question in light of the review into the Olympic swimming programme, said the governing body would still support the men's water polo team while being cheered by the gains for the other sports.

"We are delighted to see increased investment in disability swimming and diving which is richly deserved although there remains still much to do in these areas before Rio," he added.

"The funding of women's water polo and synchronised swimming is welcomed as clearly UK Sport recognises the tremendous progress these two sports have made in the last four-to-five years.

"Clearly there will be some disappointment that men's water polo missed out but being realistic they are a long way from the Olympic standard and we will now work hard with the vibrant British Water Polo community to see what we can do to build an effective and appropriate programme for them."

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