The Age
Long list of issues to unravel for Aussie swimming coach

Long list of issues to unravel for Aussie swimming coach

Sat August 4, 2012 9:19am

In some cases it was stage fright. In others, an expectation for things to simply "happen" in the London pool. Australian coach Leigh Nugent has a lengthy list of issues to unravel as he picks over the bones of an Olympic swimming performance that failed to yield a single individual gold for the first time since 1976.

The Aquatic Centre has been a waterpark for the sublime Americans but a wasteland for Australia, who will leave with just a solitary gold from the women's 4 x 100m relay and none from the individual events. Not since Montreal has an Australian swimmer failed to take out a race. The Weet-Bix packets will be strangely bare.

One night of racing remains but Australia has no finalists in the women's 50m freestyle (Cate and Bronte Campbell fell out in the semis) or the men's 1500m freestyle, an event for so long dominated by household names like Keiren Perkins and Grant Hackett.

The men and women are finalists in the medley relay, but barring eight well-placed lightning strikes, America will take their golden tally from the pool to a mighty 16. Star Spangled Banner has been played so many times that those in the crowd for the duration are eligible for green cards.

Nugent was frank with his assessment of the return from London. The expectations were lesser than Beijing, where Australia entered the competition with six world record holders and left with six gold medals. But he said it hurt badly to be relegated from powerhouse status at these Games, with China (four), France (four) and South Africa (two) all so far faring better in the gold medal tally than the Australians (1-5-2).

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