The British Swimming Coaches Association today launched a surprisingly public attack on the recruitment practises of British Swimming, prompted by the recent appointment of Olympic 1500m bronze medallists Graeme Smith to the position of National Para Swimming coach at the newly established National Para Swimming Centre in Manchester.
While stressing that they have no issue with the Smith himself, the BSCA accused British swimming of ignoring their own criteria on qualifications necessary for the post, having previously raised similar concerns when Smith worked briefly at Loughborough ITC in a temporary capacity and received reassurances from the federation in return.
A BSCA spokesman said “If such an appointment is to hold the credibility it deserves, any post holder should hold the necessary qualifications, have a body of work behind them and a list of coaching achievements from which respect will flow. Unfortunately in this case the candidate has none of these.”
“This wouldn’t happen in the US, Australia, France, or other premier swimming nations, so we do not understand how this approach to recruitment can be acceptable in Britain”
The BSCA are concerned that the appointment of Smith sends out mixed messages to their members, many of whom have spent their own money on obtaining coaching qualifications which may now seem devalued.
“If the National Federation for swimming in this country is perceived as showing little or no respect for their own qualifications and the standing of successful coaches, then why should their affiliated Clubs?” said the spokesman.
The statement concluded by calling for an independent inquiry into recruitment at a national level, with Smith’s position held over until such an inquiry was completed. The prospect of his appointment being reversed however seems unlikely.
British Swimming is yet to comment publicly on the BSCA’s statement.