Saturday, 16 August 2008

Swimming's dirty laundry hung out to dry

If you were wondering at the mysteriously fast emergence of Chinese swimmers at this Games (you probably weren't, but anyway), look no further.

JESSICAH Schipper's coach has admitted selling the training program used by his protege to the Chinese swimmer who produced the race of her career to deny the Queenslander's dream of gold.

In a revelation that will rock Australian swimming, coach Ken Wood says he sold his top-secret training methods - which transformed Schipper into the world's best 200m butterflyer - to the Chinese coach of Liu Zige.

Wood, who is in Beijing as one of the coaches with the Australian Olympic team, admitted he received "big money" from the Chinese for the information.

"They pay for the programs," Wood said yesterday. "They pay good money, big money. I wouldn't help them for nothing."

But Wood denied betraying Schipper, saying he severed all ties with China after Australia's Olympic trials in March.

The 78-year-old would not reveal how much China paid for his private program - based on 40 years of swimming knowledge - but said the poor remuneration of Australia's top swim coaches left him little choice but to seek international customers.

Wood's program contains detailed information on stroke technique, weight training, diet and preparation for elite swimmers.

In an explosive interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Wood spoke of heartbreak at seeing Schipper beaten by Lui.

But he confirmed receiving a series of payments from Chinese coach Jun Wei, who in turn was granted access for Liu to Wood's program and his pool, the Redcliffe High Performance Centre north of Brisbane.

Schipper finished third in her favourite event to the Chinese pair of Liu Zige and Jiao Liuyang, who both recorded remarkable improvements in their personal best times.

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