The Assimilation is [nearly] complete

In a 1989 episode of Star Trek:Next Generation we were introduced to the Borg, motto: "Resistence is futile, you will be assimilated." At the BTA AGM in November 2000 we were introduced to the new Performance Director Graeme Maw.
Liz Blatchford won at Liverpool on Sunday, Michelle "zipper" Dillon was 2nd and Leanda Cave 3rd. Graeme Maws assimilation of these antipodean women into the WCPP funded GB squad is almost complete, the only thing left is to identify the "native" will get dropped from the WCPP to make way for Liz.

Prior to his appointment as WCPP Performance Director in November 2000, Graeme was previously at the Queensland Academy of Sport where he worked on the swim programme. Strangely enough it looks like he is still listed in the telephone directory some 4-years later, I have not tried to find out either from them or from Graeme if he is still on the payroll too.

His dislike of the "natives" can be traced back to Maws initial months in the job. Jodie Swallow was one of the few identified potential talents when he arrived, and he has been stuck with her since then, she hadn't really let the side down until the Olympics. Pressuring her into the Olympics team was just the excuse to jetison her long term. Sorry Jodie, Graeme has other plans and besides you are not from "down under".

Then there was Andrea Whitcome. Same problem here too, Andrea was just arriving when Graeme came on board as BTA performance director. However, since she wasn't the talent Maw wanted, he has held back Andrea at every opportunity, first was the 2001 ETU Championships at Carlsbad and numerous others leading up to the recent Olympic debacle.

From the start Maw "couldn't give a castlemain 4x" for the domestic Women, even flaunting Dr Sarah Springmans much lauded gender equity programme in triathlon. Also gone but not forgotten are Sian Brice, Annie Emmerson, Catherine Hare et al. the future doesn't look bright and doesn't look red-white-blue for Julie Dibbens, Annelise Heard, Jo Hinde and others.

Lest you think that this is a female thing, it isn't. ON the Mens side we have the unlucky import Paul Amey, and ask yourself how much the likes of Tim Don, Richard Stannard et al have progressed under Maw and his development plan. The only bright light is Stuart Hayes, who is starting to come into his own in 2004.

Maw has systematically imported talent from down-under and coached by others, such as Brett Sutton who is amongst Graemes' confidants, while singularly failing to develop any real talent himself. This may be a tribute to Graeme the Performance Director it doesn't say much for his own coaching and development abilities. I guess long term this is a winning formula, deport the parents of your best athletes, let the Aussies pay to coach and develop them, then when the time is right and they can't get in the Australian Team bring them on board as co-dependents who won't complain as they have everything to lose.

Shame he missed recruiting Kate Allen, who unlike Maws unrealistic claims for the GB Olympic team, actually delivered!

All this has come at a cost. The budget for this non-performance is Two Million, Six Hundred Thousand Pounds Sterling(£2,600,000). One third of the GB Swim team budget over the same period, more than the Modern Pentathalon budget, and approxiamately one fifth of the budget to support the whole GB Athletic team.
Interestingly, according to Dan Empfield in a private e-mail this week, more than the USOC paid for the USAT team(1).

It is interesting to note that Graeme Maw was appointed during the last chaotic period at the BTA. The elite athletes were confronting the BTA Executive over the ETU/Triathlon Council for Europe fiasco, the BTA was in direct conflict with the ITU over the TCE as well. Lots of parallels today, what we need are another "Lessing and Brice" from the WCPP team who no longer want to be pushed around like cattle. But then look what happended to them.

Now Graeme has what he wanted all along, the only question is, is this what we deserve ?

Another of the Borgs sayings from the 1989 shows was "BE ASSIMILATED, OR BE STEREOTYPED AND DESTROYED!"
(1). This may not include the total funding of the USAT Triathlon squad, but is certainly substantially more than the USOC contribution.
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