Alan Bircher suspended by Swim England after investigation

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Alain bircher, the former coach of the World, European and Commonwealth medalist Freya Anderson, was suspended by Swim England following a 12-month toxic culture investigation at Ilsmere College.

Bircher, a British open water international in his own swimming days who won world silver in 2004, guided Anderson from her teenage years until she moved to train with Dave mcnulty at the National Training Center in Bath last spring.

Ellesmere also counts Cassie Sauvage and Hector Pardoe – both competing in Tokyo – among its alumni.

However, according to an article in The Guardian, an investigation heard allegations of bullying, shame on the fat, disregard of Covid restrictions and failure to report protection concerns at the elite swim club that ‘he was leading.

Bircher was not part of the British coaching staff in Tokyo so reports of his removal are inaccurate.

However, his future is precarious with another anonymous coach also suspended although Swim England has said coaches Amanda wetherell and Mark south were not involved.

British Swimming and Swim England have issued a joint statement to Swimming world, who reads :

“Swim England was extremely concerned to receive notifications of welfare issues from parents of swimmers at Ellesmere College Titans Swimming Club. .

“The report identified welfare and governance issues and immediately the review was concluded, Swim England implemented all of the report’s recommendations to ensure a safe, supportive and positive environment for everyone at the club .

“This involved a complete change in the governance structure of the club and Swim England officials working alongside members to put in place a revised structure and procedures. An independent wellness officer supports the club and as some of the coaches in the program are currently on suspension, coaching support has been secured for the program, overseen by an experienced Swim England Talent coach.

“Swim England will continue to work with the club until we are satisfied with our strong protection and welfare procedures and policies incorporated into the governance of the club. Suspended coaching staff will not return to the program until all conditions set out in the report have been met to the satisfaction of Swim England.


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