Give our guys a sporting chance
IPSWICH swimming figures are confident Australia's beleaguered swim team can rebuild towards the glory days from the lows of London.
Former Olympic swimmers Greg Fasala and Heath Ramsay, now both coaches in Ipswich, say expectations were too high for the team but it can bounce back.
Fasala is best known for being a member of the Mean Machine, the relay team that defied expectations to win a silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
He said there was no definite reason for the current team's performance being seen as disappointing but rather a combination of factors.
"I remember when I was a young boy watching the Olympics in 1976 and 1980, and in those days the country would have been absolutely over the moon if we had a swimmer in a final," he said.
"We went through that golden era and now we're coming to the realisation of how many great swimmers we had with people like Susie O'Neill and Kieran Perkins, Grant Hackett and Michael Klim, Geoff Huegill - the list goes on.
"We didn't take it for granted but we just expected that's the way it is. We've also lost a couple of great coaches and administrators to overseas.
"If there's something good to come out of these Olympics it's for everyone to come back and think about what they have to do to get to the next level."
Heath Ramsay, who swam in the Sydney 2000 Olympics under legendary coach Don Talbot, is sympathetic about the 2012 swimming team but says it is up to them to drag themselves back to the ranks of the world powers.
"I think overall they've gone quite well," Ramsay said. "I think people forget how hard it is to win a gold medal - any medal - or even make a final at the Olympics.
"Criticism of James Magnussen is quite unfair. You'd want him to be confident; you wouldn't want him to be out in the media saying he wants to lose. So to shoot him down when he says he's going to win and doesn't is unfair.
"You can't control what other people do; all you can do is go over there and do your best."
He said there was a lot of talk about swimmers spending too much time with social media but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. "If you know you're the type of person who thrives on things on Twitter or Facebook, then do it. If you know you're prone to getting agitated by things, then you choose not to do it," he said.
"Under Don I think there would have been a blanket ban but I can definitely see positives and negatives out of it."