After nearly 18 months of upheaval Swimming Australia is about to release a plan aimed at restoring public confidence, luring increased investment and putting the nation back among the pacesetters.
Led by a largely new executive headed by president John Bertrand, the organisation, which was swept out after the troubled 2012 London Olympics campaign, will this month begin searching for a major sponsor to breach the multimillion-dollar chasm left when its prime corporate investor walked out on the sport in mid-2013, early in a five-year deal.
Federal funding through the Australian Sports Commission was also cut after London, requiring a major overhaul to restore an image battered by what was infamously labelled a “toxic culture”.
“We took a reputational hit post-London, there’s no doubt about that, but what I’ve sensed is that Australians haven’t just ditched us,” said chief executive Mark Anderson, who was appointed last May and charged with leading the rebuild. “People still feel a connection to swimming and they want us to succeed. They’re almost willing us to succeed. If we do things right, I’m really confident that we’ll have the sporting community and the general public behind us.”