Jack Buckner is the new British Swimming chief executive ©Twitter

Former long distance runner Jack Buckner has been announced as the new chief executive of British Swimming.

The 55-year-old will replace David Sparkes, who is retiring after 23 years of service at the organisation. 

His appointment is seen "as another step in the sport's preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games", according to the Loughborough-based governing body.

Buckner, who currently holds the same position at the British Triathlon Federation, is due to take over at British Swimming in the coming months.

He represented Britain at two Olympic Games, at Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992.

However, his greatest achievement was winning the 5,000 metres at the 1986 European Championships in Stuttgart when he ran 13min 10.15sec.

"I am delighted and honoured to be appointed chief executive of British Swimming," Buckner said.

"The role presents great opportunities and challenges and I'm excited to be part of this high-performing Olympic and Paralympic sport.

"I have really enjoyed my time at British Triathlon and look forward to watching the sport's continued progression in the years ahead."

British swimmers won six Olympic medals at the Rio 2016, their best tally since London 1908, and another 47 at the Paralympics.

"I have enjoyed my time with British Swimming and we have seen many changes and great performances," said Sparkes.

"I welcome Jack to British Swimming. 

"He will find himself leading a great team of people who in turn have some fantastic athletes.

"I am sure under Jack's leadership we will see British Swimming move on to even greater success. 

"I shall now, as a volunteer where I started from in 1994, take an interest in our future as we prepare for Tokyo and future challenges."

In March an "independent fact-finding investigation" was launched by British Swimming into multiple claims of bullying, reportedly made by Paralympic squad members.

This was confirmed by the national governing body after a BBC report alleged that unnamed Rio 2016 Paralympic medallists were among those to file complaints against a specific coach.

A parent of one complainant told the BBC that swimmers were "belittled and criticised" by a "culture of fear".

"Whilst some athletes have expressed some concerns, we have immediately undertaken an independent fact-finding investigation into these," said Sparkes at the time.

"The investigation remains ongoing and, until it is completed, we do not propose to make any further comment."