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Little chance of swimming having a happy ending to 2012

with only eight individual Olympic champions from London 2012 competing at the World Short Course Swimming Championships which open in Istanbul today, the event does not seem to rate high on the calendars of elite competitors.

Most of the 1000 entrants are from the ranks of development swimmers, yet the event is critical for Britain where those involved in aquatic sports are still reeling from the Games at which they emerged with one silver and three bronze medals.

Given that total UK investment in swimming, diving, synchro and water polo over the four years since Beijing amounted to £38,006,639, it worked out at £9,501,659 per gong.

The consequences of this will be revealed next week, when UK Sport announces funding for the next four-year cycle, to 2017. These can hardly be other than painful, given the sport's target of five to seven medals. No employer, no shareholder, would tolerate such production costs, or shortfall.

If you had invested £38m on the gold market yesterday, it would have bought 1164 kilo bars of 24 carat gold. That's enough to make 14 solid gold, life-size statues of Scotland's 200 metres breaststroke silver medallist, Michael Jamieson. The Glasgow-born swimmer weighed 81kg when he broke the UK record three times in London as Britain's most successful swimmer.

Istanbul, where barely 1000 tickets had been sold yesterday, is the first global championships since London 2012, and the last chance for the GB team (which includes Jamieson and fellow Scots Hannah Miley, Craig Benson and Robbie Renwick) to deliver performances which might take some sting from next Tuesday's UKS funding announcement.

A performance debrief and review of the squad's spectacular Olympic flop has been conducted, and 20 recommendations for change are made, despite the conclusion that "no major overhaul" was needed. Yet, as one critic put it, the only gold discovered was the colour of the air miles cards of the chief executive David Sparkes and performance director Michael Scott who were resident in Germany and Australia while running the show in Britain.

Questions to which the review failed to answer, but to which the sport is entitled to an answer include:

l Who paid for their commuting flights?

l And were they economy?

Former double gold medallist Becky Adlington was blistering in her criticism of the post-Olympic review, particularly its failure to discuss issues with competitors. The days when competitors could be treated as serfs should be gone, though it is unclear whether Adlington was one of those the panel had in mind when stating there were "commercial distractions that should have been anticipated better".

The panel noted poorly executed planning and weaknesses in coaching and technical leadership, to which the head coach Dennis Pursley (the American whose contract ended after the Games) has put up his hand.

Though the review panel included Bob Bowman (coach of Michael Phelps), remarkably it also included Scott. The findings of a wholly independent panel would have been better received and more credible. Sparkes renewed Scott's four-year contract (reasserting his right to spend half his time in Australia) shortly before the Olympics. The Australian resigned last month when the panel deemed UK residence a condition of the incumbent.

Sparkes remains, though his coaching staff fear forthcoming cuts will cost them their jobs. Inevitably there will be less money for the 2016 Rio campaign.

The debrief insists the new national performance director be UK-based, and that the role of the new head coach be scoped and clearly defined. The most likely UK candidates for the posts of performance director and head coach respectively, are Bill Furniss (who steered Adlington to double gold) and Chris Nesbit, former head of the GB facility on Queensland's Gold Coast during Bill Sweetenham's reign.

Perhaps predictably, the debrief drew attention to positive outcomes from London: The highest number of GB Olympic finalists (23), of whom half finished in the top five; that Britain was one of only three nations with a team in five of the six relay finals, and one of only two with swimmers in the top five of both open water events.

However you look at it, though, the inescapable conclusion is that converting only three of 23 finalists into medallists is damning.

The head coach in Istanbul is Dave McNulty, the man guiding Bath-based Jamieson, who will have no easier task than that which he faced in London. Daniel Gyurta, the Hungarian who set a world record to deny the Scot breaststroke gold, is one of only five male individual Olympic champions in action in Turkey, while the Chinese teenager, Ye Shiwen, who took 200 and 400 individual medley gold, is back again to haunt Miley, one of only three individual female 2012 winners.

Miley had an outstanding European Short Course Championships, taking gold in the 400m individual medley with a European record ahead of Katinka Hosszu, who beat her in London.

But Ye seems destined for more controversy. The sport's specialist blogs continue to remind how her penultimate length of the 400m medley final was faster than five in the men's final, including Michael Phelps, and just 0.2 slower than Ryan Lochte en route to victory in the fastest swim ever in a textile suit.

I am not awash with hope for a happy ending to 2012 for British swimming.

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