Kieren Perkins, Harvard MBA Tim Ford Join Australian Swim Review

Former Olympic champions Kieren Perkins and Petria Thomas will help conduct a review of elite swimming in Australia following the country’s failure to win an individual gold medal for the first time in 36 years at the London Games.

Tim Ford, a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Business School and a former Commonwealth Games swimmer, and Australian Institute of Sport Director Matt Favier are the other members of the panel, which will be chaired by former Australian Sports Minister Warwick Smith, the Australian Sports Commission said today in a statement.

The review will examine all aspects of Australia’s high-performance swimming programs including governance and administration. The culture of the national team and the impact of social media on athlete preparations will also be considered, the Canberra-based commission said.

“Procedures will be put in place by the review panel to ensure that stakeholders’ views can be submitted confidentially to enable the panel members to receive frank and open input,” the commission said.

The Australian swim team returned from London with one gold, six silver and three bronze medals. The 400-meter women’s freestyle relay team took the only gold as the nation that produced former Olympic champions Dawn Fraser and Ian Thorpe failed to secure an individual title in the pool for the first time since the 1976 Montreal games.

Disciplinary issues affected the team’s unity in London and some swimmers were pursuing their own goals rather than those of the squad, the Australian newspaper reported Sept. 12, citing people close to the team it didn’t identify. Men’s 400-meter relay swimmer Tommaso D’Orsogna said in a Sept. 13 interview with Australia’s Ten Network that some swimmers behaved more like schoolboys than Olympians at a pre-games camp.

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