Swimming Australia’s High Performance team will receive a boost in the form of Canadian Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medallist and former world record holder, Alex Baumann, who will take on a new role as Swimming Australia’s Chief Strategist, High Performance.
The Chief Executive of High Performance Sport New Zealand since 2012 and former Chief Executive Officer of ‘Own the Podium’ - Canada’s High Performance Sport Program, Baumann has been recruited to lead Australia’s High Performance strategy across the Olympic, Paralympic and Open Water Swimming programs.
Baumann comes highly regarded from his previous roles, achieving great results in raising the performance of Canadian athletes and increasing the funding for high performance sport plus, he was instrumental in rolling out the strategic plan for New Zealand leading into the Rio Games in 2016 and for Tokyo in 2020.
Baumann also helped to produce the best ever New Zealand Olympic team performance in Rio 2016, with a total of 18 medals in nine different sports, of which four were Gold.
Swimming Australia President John Bertrand said, “Alex’s appointment as Chief Strategist, High Performance will help support athlete and coach performances and underpin Swimming Australia’s elite-level vision to continue to take the organisation to the next level.”
“We continue to compete against the best in the world so this is a critical next step.
“As part of our push for continuous improvement, Alex will bring a fresh perspective to the organisation and challenge our existing way of thinking. This is an important step in raising the high-performance bar.” Bertrand said
Baumann, who resigned from his position in New Zealand to be closer to his family on the Gold Coast, said he was looking forward to working collaboratively with the existing high performance team to help lead the way for positive change.
“I am excited to be moving back to Australia and to be taking on the role with Swimming Australia as Chief Strategist, High Performance. Swimming in Australia has a long history of success and I am looking forward to working with a great team that is performance driven, athlete focused and coach led.”
“There will no doubt be challenges ahead as we compete on the world stage, but I am passionate about the sport and am looking forward to driving the high performance strategy forward without compromise to meet these challenges head on.”
“Australia has always had great potential as a swimming nation and we will continue to explore ways to build upon this winning culture.”
Swimming Australia CEO Mark Anderson said Baumann’s appointment was significant and was evidence of the high level of appeal of working within the sport and across the Australian Swim team.
“Alex has had outstanding success in his career, as an athlete, coach and high performance sport leader and his expertise will be of great benefit to Swimming Australia and our high performance team.
“We have often stated that we need to attract world’s best talent as we build towards sustained success both in and out of the pool. Alex’s appointment is a great and tangible example of this intent being achieved.
“This position will play a critical leadership role across our high performance system. Given Alex’s experience and the respect that he has throughout Australian swimming, I have no doubt he will make a significant impact across our sport to the benefit of our teams, coaches and swimmers.
“I want to also recognise the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) for their support in achieving this outcome. The AIS Director, Peter Conde has been instrumental in ensuring this outcome and we thank him for his role in support of our process,” Anderson stated.
Australian Dolphins Swim Team Head Coach, Jacco Verhaeren said he was thrilled to get the chance to work alongside Baumann.
“I know Alex is very passionate about swimming and of course has great insight into what it takes to lead an elite sporting system and I am looking forward to working closely with him on the road to Tokyo 2020,” Verhaeren said.
Baumann will officially begin as Chief Strategist, High Performance at Swimming Australia on 31st January 2018.