By Duncan Mackay

Warwick SmithSeptember 16 - Former Sports Minister Warwick Smith (pictured) is to head the investigation into Australian swimming's disappointing performances at London 2012, it has been announced.

The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) has taken over jurisdiction of the inquiry from Swimming Australia to ensure its independence. 

The decision was taken after Swimming Australia and the ASC met to discuss plans for the review amid growing reports of disharmony within the squad in London, where Australia claimed just one gold medal in the pool - the lowest haul since Barcelona 1992.

The latest allegations include that a young swimmer was physically and verbally bullied at the team's pre-London 2012 training camp in Manchester. 

Smith was called in to head up the review after conducting a similar operation last year for Football Federation Australia.

He will be assisted by Australian Institute of Sport director Matt Favier, who worked in Britain for eight years for UK Athletics and UK Sport, while the remaining members of the panel are expected to be announced this week.

They will investigate why Australia's swimmers so underperformed, winning 10 medals, although six of them were silver, including Emily Seebohm in the women's 100 metres backstroke.

Emily Seebohm_with_silver_medal_100m_backstroke_London_July_30_2012Emily Seebohm won one of Australia's six silver medals in what was generally a disappointing performance at London 2012

Former swimmers and Swimming Australia Board members Tim Ford and Kieren Perkins were expected to lead the review, though they could be among those to join the panel.

Newly appointed ASC chairman John Wylie welcomed the review but said it had to have sufficient independence "to ensure its process and recommendations have credibility with the Australian community."

The ASC will focus on the use of taxpayer funds, with the review to be completed in time to consider funding allocations in early 2013.

In 2011/2012, the ASC invested more than AUD$10 million (£6.5 million/$10.5 million/€8 million) in the sport across both high performance and participation.

"The Sports Commission takes very seriously the fact that it is investing taxpayers' money into sports," ASC chief executive Simon Hollingsworth said.

"ASC investment is based on sound evidence, the achievement of agreed outcomes and proof that sports are being administered in a way that uses funding for greatest impact.

"For swimming, this review will be critical in allowing the ASC Board to make an informed decision on future funding allocations."

The review will cover performance and the sport's administration and is expected to investigate recent claims of behavioural and cultural issues within the national team.

Smith's appointment was backed by Australia's current Sports Miinister Kate Lundy.

"Warwick is eminently qualified and well-credentialled to lead the panel," she said.

"High quality leadership in sport is essential to ensure the public can have confidence that government funding is wisely invested.

"I look forward to the recommendations from this review process, as ultimately the implementation of the outcomes will guide future funding decisions."

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