The University of Canberra has launched a new swim club with Tracey Menzies, the woman who guided Australian legend Ian Thorpe to Olympic gold medals in the men’s 200 metres and 400m freestyle events at Athens 2004, named as the head coach.
As reported by The Canberra Times, the new high-performance swimming programme will largely be run out of the Australian Institute of Sport.
It comes after Swimming Australia announced in November that its National Training Centre (NTC) Transition Program in Canberra would be closing at the end of the 2018 following an analysis of all High-Performance Centres within the nation.
The national governing body said at the time that NTC Transition Program head coach Menzies would remain connected to Swimming Australia, but her role had not yet been determined.
It has now been confirmed that she will be head coach of the University of Canberra’s new swim club, which is set to offer high-level coaching across a range of disciplines, including elite swimming, water polo, triathlon, open water and surf competition, to both students and the wider community.
Menzies, who was headhunted by the University of Canberra's head of sport Carrie Graf, will also provide water safety awareness programmes to international students.
"It’s a programme we can grow and develop which is exciting," Menzies was reported as saying by The Canberra Times.
"That’s what I am really excited about, this is something that has a lot of potential."
Menzies added: "It’s not just for swimming, it’s for water polo, surf swimming, for a whole range of different athletes.
"What we want to try to do is encourage people to stay in the sport of swimming, whether its leisure or high performance.
"We want to try to cover the needs of kids when they hit 17 and they don’t stay in the sport.
"We’re trying to keep kids in the sport, trying to work towards the [Australian] University Games.
"That would be our big milestone for a lot of these athletes, to go to University Games and then World Uni Games."
Menzies coached five-time Olympic champion Thorpe from 2002 until his retirement in 2006.
Thorpe is Australia's most successful Olympian.
He also won gold medals in the 400m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle relay and 4x200m freestyle relay at his home Olympics in Sydney in 2000.