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GB Swimming is on cusp of making real waves at Olympics ex-chief

By Paul Burrows

British Swimming is "on the verge of something special" according to former performance director Bill Sweetenham.

Adam Peaty provided Team GB's highlight on the first full day of the Rio Olympics, bettering his own 100m breaststroke World record with a time of 57.55 seconds in Saturday's heats.

The 21-year-old went into the final in the early hours of this morning as favourite to take gold, a feat which just three British men have managed in the pool in the past 40 years.

But Sweetenham, the Australian who headed the organisation between 2000 and 2007, believes it could be just the start of more sustained success.

"You can look and say perhaps Britain should have won more (gold medals) but the facts are that you are living in a country which is low on facilities and got lost for many years in short-course swimming but I think Britain has come through the mediocrity and now has expectations of excellence," said Sweetenham. "He (Peaty) is probably going to lead that charge."

While Sweetenham has been impressed by Peaty's personal achievements, he is most enthusiastic about the current coaching set-up and the possibility of unlocking unfulfilled potential.

"It's (down to) the development of a new group of coaches, a whole new group that have been a long time coming," he said. "It doesn't happen overnight but there is a group of them coming through.

"If they can keep these coaches fired up and focused they will do a hell of a job. I think Britain is on the verge of something really special in swimming.

"I think Adam Peaty, and please don't leave out his coach Melanie Marshall, will place a confidence in the young people and especially the coaches.

"Britain didn't understand how good and how dominating they could be. They didn't feel the world stage was the place for them and it is.

"The world stage is the place British swimmers belong."

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