Swimming coach Brian Stehr has trained both Melanie Schlanger and Brittany Elmslie, who were part of the girls 100-metre freestyle relay team that won Australia's first gold medal of the London olympics in the early hours of this morning (our time). Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily
Swimming coach Brian Stehr has trained both Melanie Schlanger and Brittany Elmslie, who were part of the girls 100-metre freestyle relay team that won Australia's first gold medal of the London olympics in the early hours of this morning (our time). Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily Brett Wortman

Olympic coach Brian Stehr hits out after council dumping

SWIM coach Brian Stehr has vowed he will never work with local government again after he was dumped this week from his head coach role at the Noosa Aquatic Centre.

Noosa Swimming Club members have rallied behind Mr Stehr, who in May was appointed to the board of directors of the Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association.

The club members are demanding Sunshine Coast Council rethink the decision, claiming community value should have been considered in the tender process.

Mr Stehr said yesterday he had suffered too many kicks in the guts working with the council to put himself through it again.

"There was 10 years of chaos at Noosa Aquatic Centre," he said.

"I went there and provided stability and continuity and numbers through the gates.

"There was no consultation (around the tender process). People are really angry about that.

"I had no inkling this was coming. I did get an unofficial nod I would be okay.

"I was told yesterday morning and I finish next Wednesday."

Unlike in 1995 when he had nowhere to go after he lost the lease of Cotton Tree Olympic Pool after a 14-year tenure, this time the coach of Olympians Melanie Schlanger and Nick D'Arcy does have a future.

He will take up a new role as coach at the Good Shepherd Lutheran College, Noosaville.

But he remains bitterly disappointed for the squad he has built over the past four years.

"Swimming is about long-term development," Mr Stehr said. "You really need eight to 10 years. We had it going really good. We had a lot of kids coming along."

Melanie Schlanger's father Paul made his feelings clear on a Facebook page set up by his daughter.

Noosa Swim Club is also posting its support on Facebook.

"As the parent of an eventual Olympic swimmer I can tell anyone willing to listen that Brian Stehr was the main reason that Melanie has risen to elite level in her sport," Mr Schlanger said.

"I was there every step of the way, I saw what his influence was, I know that his efforts made the difference.

"He has been responsible for so many swimmers' success. This could only have happened if Brian had the facilities to nurture young swimmers.

"Shame on the council that would not see past its own bank balance. They needed to include community value to the tender process."

Stehr supporter Amanda Gazzola said the decision meant the council now effectively decided who would coach the swimming club.



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