Tokyo 2020: Paralympic champion to lead Australia swimmers

Brendan Burkett takes top job ahead of next summer Games 04 Oct 2018
Brendan Burkett

Australian Paralympian Brendan Burkett (right) is in the country's new Para Swimming Head Coach

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By Australian Paralympic Committe and IPC

He won a Paralympic gold, carried his country’s flag at the Games on home soil and now Brendan Burkett will lead Australia's Para swimmers to Tokyo 2020 as Swimming Australia’s new Paralympic Head Coach.

Burkett competed in four Games and won the 50m freestyle S9 at Atlanta 1996. Four years later, he was chosen Australia’s flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony when the country hosted the Paralympics in Sydney.

Now, he takes on a new challenge and said he feels very fortunate to be a part of the long-standing tradition that swimming has in the country.

“I’ve been very lucky to be part of the spirit of the green and gold as an athlete and in various staff team roles in the past 17 years,” Burkett said.

“During this time the Australian swim team has been guided by some outstanding head coaches who have set a high standard, including Brendan Keogh and the late Jan Cameron, and I am privileged to form part of this now.

“I am very much looking forward to contributing to the team in this new role and working closely with Adam Pine as we start our journey to the World Championships and Tokyo 2020,” he added.

Preparing for Kuching and Tokyo

Burkett brings with him a wealth of knowledge and technical expertise having previously been the State Coach of Queensland and Scholarship Swimming Coach at the Australian Institute of Sport.

He is currently the Director of High Performance Sport at the University of the Sunshine Coast, and a Professor of Sport Science (biomechanics).

The role’s key focus will be on guiding and leading Swimming Australia’s team of Para coaches at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships in Kuching, Malaysia, and at Tokyo 2020, as well as providing on team leadership for athletes and staff.

“Brendan has an exceptional mix of coaching, technical knowledge and sports science experience. We very much look forward to Brendan leading the Para team as we work towards creating successful campaigns in 2019 and 2020,” Swimming Australia’s Paralympic Campaign Manager, Adam Pine said.

Burkett will continue in his current position at the University of the Sunshine Coast while undertaking his new role.

The first international competition for the new Head Coach will be the 2019 World Series which Australia will host for the first time in Melbourne from 15-17 February.