Former World 50m breaststroke Champion James Gibson has been appointed Interim Sprint Coach at Loughborough University.
Gibson retired from competitive swimming in 2010 and has since coached at Marseille in France at a squad that includes Florent Manaudou, 50m freestyle Olympic champion in London this summer. Gibson has also helped out with the Dutch team since 2012.
Michael Scott, National Performance Director for British Swimming said: “The plan was always to address our event weaknesses, especially the sprints bearing in mind the number of events across the different strokes and the relays."
If funding can be secured to have an elite sprint centre based at the London Olympic pool, Gibson would be a candidate to lead the programme. British Swimming will not know if it has the required finding until December, when UK Sport allocated lottery funds according to whether sports met their London 2012 targets. Swimming fell shy.
If the London centre does get a green light, it would not be established before 2014, when the venue takes on its legacy mode, Olympic seating capacity removed and new glass side walls installed.
Scott said: "With Ben Titley’s departure from Loughborough we need a coach to look after our sprint athletes there in the interim whilst we progress our plan to set up a permanent sprint centre in the UK. James Gibson has accepted the job as Interim Sprint Coach and will join us in December. Once we know our budget from UK Sport and have established our future funding priorities from that, the nature and extent of the sprint programme will be determined going forward.
“As a swimmer Gibson’s background is first class and although he is a young coach, his experience in working with the world renowned sprint programme in Marseille and his role with the Dutch swimming team over the last two years have provided him with great skills to help British Swimming lift its performances in the sprint events.”
Gibson said: "My expertise over the past two years has been in sprint coaching so I am delighted to have the chance to come back to Britain in this brand new role. There is already a good platform in Britain with some talented swimmers so hopefully the new programme will enable them to progress and win more medals at World and Olympic levels in the future.
“I have been in Marseille for six years now and I am grateful for all the support I have had there, especially from Romain Barnier who not only helped me in my transition from swimmer to coach but presented me with an opportunity to coach some of the best swimmers in the world.
“Britain has an excellent history in swimming and I am looking forward to coming home to lead the sprint programme in Loughborough and playing an important role in its future development."
The new programme led by Gibson will begin on December 3.