Bertrand to head up Swimming Australia
Katherine Downie of Australia practices on August 15, 2013 in Montreal, Canada. Swimming Australia is trying to rebuild its reputation after a disastrous London Olympics.
Bertrand, 66, of America's Cup yachting fame, replaces Barclay Nettlefold, who resigned in June after claims that he made inappropriate remarks towards a female team consultant.
The appointment of the respected Bertrand is seen as a positive step for Swimming Australia after a tumultuous year following poor results at the London Olympics.
Bertrand is a dual Olympian, world champion sailor, respected international business leader and renowned philanthropist. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1985.
He is best known as the skipper of Australia II, which won the America's Cup for Australia in 1983, ending 132 years of American domination.
Bertrand represented Australia in five America's Cups and at two Olympic Games (1972 and 1976).
"I am honoured to have been selected to preside over Swimming Australia," Bertrand said.
"I've had an association with high performance sport and high performance teams for more than 40 years and this appointment is one of the highlights of my career."
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) welcomed the move, saying: "John has a proven track record in high performance sport. He has impeccable connections in Australian sport and business communities and we are very supportive of his appointment."
Bertrand's appointment comes at a troubled time for Swimming Australia.
London was Australian swimming's first Games without an individual gold medal since the 1976 Montreal Olympics and its worst record haul -- of one gold medal, six silver and three bronze -- since 1992 in Barcelona.
Two independent inquiries into what went wrong pointed to a squad lacking leadership and found "toxic" incidents such as drunkenness and bullying had gone unchecked.
Among the revelations were that members of the six-man 4x100m freestyle relay squad had taken sleeping pills banned by the AOC and played pranks at a pre-games training camp.
The sport's president, chief executive and head coach all left their positions, while the organisation lost its major sponsor and had a cut in government funding.
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