By Tom Degun

mark perryDecember 5 - Under fire British Swimming have announced key interim leadership appointments after suffering a blistering verbal attack from Rebecca Adlington.

They come following the results of the London 2012 Performance Debrief that forced the resignation of former national performance director Michael Scott.

The key appointment sees Mark Perry (pictured top), who led the open water and development programmes for British Swimming; take up the role of interim technical lead.

That move sees Graham Bassi, the current assistant coach at the British Gas Swansea ITC, replace Perry as the interim manager of the development programme.

The temporary reshuffle will also see British Swimming's director of world class operations Ian Mason act as interim line manager to those who previously reported to Scott.

The crisis at British Swimming started after Team GB claimed just three medals in London - two bronzes from Adlington and a silver for Michael Jamieson - while there were numerous disappointing performances from swimmers who had been expected to challenge for success as the sport failed to reach the target of five set by UK Sport.

Becky AdlingtonRebecca Adlington has claimed British Swimming is in an absolute mess following the resignation of head coach Dennis Pursley

American head coach Dennis Pursley resigned following the failure to hit the target at the Olympics before he was followed out the door by Scott.

But as British swimming began the rebuilding process following the Debrief, they were heavily criticised by Adlington, who said they were taking far too long in replacing Pursley.

"Why is it taking so long?" said the double Beijing 2008 Olympic champion who remains one of Britain's most recognisable swimmers.

"We've been dying for them to appoint a head coach for months."

The 23-year-old from Mansfield called the situation "an absolute mess" but British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes has moved quickly to try and resolve the issue by calling for an urgent meeting with Adlington.

"I recognise she is pretty unhappy with me now, well with British Swimming, and I want to put it right," said Sparkes.

"I want to listen to her and hear what she is going to say.

"I am sure she has got some good stuff to say to us.

"If Rebecca felt pretty strongly I am a pretty approachable kind of chap and if she had dropped me an email or picked up the phone I would happily have met with her.

"I am desperately trying to set up an early meeting with Rebecca and her colleagues.

"We are just struggling to find a date that meets her needs at the moment but we are working hard on it."

David SparkesBritish Swimming chief executive David Sparkes is looking to resolve a conflict with Rebecca Adlington

The London 2012 Performance Debrief itself claimed that British Swimming itself did not need "radical" overhaul despite the Olympic failure.

The panel that conducted the Debrief was chaired by ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission Craig Hunter, who is an independent member of the British Swimming Board.

It also included Michael Phelps' coach Bob Bowman, the Harlequins director of rugby Conor O' Shea and double Olympic open water swimming medallist Thomas Lurz.

The review was actually initiated by Scott but he resigned when the report from the panel recommended that he should be based permanently in the UK, rather than commuting from his home in Melbourne.

The panel said the new appointment "must be UK based to provide strong and dynamic leadership of the world class programme (WCP) and to work in close consultation with a newly appointed head coach to develop the WCP and fully address the recommendations from the debrief."

Pursley was also criticised after the report highlighted weaknesses in the sport's "technical and coaching leadership" but it concluded that no one single factor was responsible for Team GB failing to reach its target London 2012.

It cited shortfalls in London as being the exception, not the rule, and as a result the primary focus of the report was on the period post the selection trials from March 2012 through to the Games.

"Put simply, the programme is not broken and doesn't require a major overhaul or radical change of direction," said Hunter.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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