Conor O'Shea on British swimming review panel

Updated: Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012 15:03

British Swimming have announced that Harlequins director of rugby and RTÉ rugby analyst Conor O'Shea has been appointed to the four-man review into the poor performance by British swimmers at London 2012.

With success at world and European level in recent years, hopes had been high entering the Olympics but the British swimming programme finished with just one silver by Michael Jamieson and two bronze medals from Rebecca Adlington.

While there were 23 finalists, three medals represents a poor conversion rate with three fourth places.

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They came courtesy of Lizzie Simmonds in the 200 metres backstroke, Keri-anne Payne in the open water and the men's 4x100m medley relay as well as seventh fifth places.

National performance director Michael Scott was clearly devastated when he announced the inquest a little over a fortnight ago.

The Australian described himself as "gutted" and his hands shook as he read a prepared statement before announcing: "My style is not to quit, my style is not to walk away, and I won't be walking away."

Instead, Scott announced he would be heading the review along with British Swimming board member Craig Hunter, the chef de mission at the Paralympics as well as the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, plus two then unnamed figures.

While there was a lot of speculation that cycling chief Dave Brailsford may be one, this was refuted at the time, although Scott was open about the fact he meets with other performance leaders a number of times a year.

A statement from British Swimming read: "Conor O'Shea, the former national director of the English Institute of Sport and current director of rugby at Harlequins, is appointed with a strong expertise and understanding of coaching as well as sport science and sport medicine.

"Thomas Lurz, a two-time Olympic marathon swimming medallist for Germany in 2008 and 2012, is also appointed and will use his vast experience to contribute to analysis of open water performance.

"The panel will be chaired by independent member of the British Swimming management board Craig Hunter, with a vast experience of international and Olympic competition, and is completed by British Swimming national performance director Michael Scott.

"The aim of the debrief is to consider the performance results at the London 2012 Olympics, to determine the reasons for below-medal target performance and identify key areas for improvement for inclusion in British Swimming's strategy for Rio and beyond.

"It is anticipated to conclude the London 2012 performance debrief by the end of October 2012."

Following the review, the position of head coach will also be filled.

Dennis Pursley was the previous incumbent but left without any word to the press after the Games to take up a post at the University of Alabama.

Adlington's coach Bill Furniss and Swimming Canada chief executive Pierre Lafontaine are among those linked with the role.

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