Colorado Rapids head Tim Hinchey has been appointed President and chief executive at USA Swimming ©USA Swimming

Tim Hinchey is to join USA Swimming as President and chief executive from Major League Soccer (MLS) club Colorado Rapids, it has been announced.

Hinchey, the MLS executive of the year for 2016, succeeds the late Chuck Wielgus, who died at the age of 67 in April after suffering complications from colon cancer.

Mike Unger, the interim executive director following the death of Wielgus, will continue in the role until Hinchey officially starts work with the Colorado Springs-based governing body on July 12.

Wielgus' title was executive director, with USA Swimming seemingly changing the title to President and chief executive in announcing Hinchey's appointment.

"Leading USA Swimming is a dream job for me," Hinchey, who will depart the Colorado Rapids after more than six years as President, said.

"Being involved in the sport of swimming has played a major part in shaping who I am as a person and as a professional, and I can’t wait to give back to our membership. 

"I’ve benefited from the dedication and commitment from athletes, coaches, volunteers and officials who make the sport so successful. 

"It’s truly inspiring. It’s also an honour to join such a talented staff that has worked tirelessly to make USA Swimming the model national governing body in the Olympic Movement. 

"I look forward to continuing the legacy left by Chuck Wielgus by employing our resources and rolling up my sleeves alongside our staff, Board of Directors and membership to support our numerous stakeholders and grow the sport at all levels." 

Hinchey previously served as chief marketing officer of the MLS side and also held the same role with English Football League club Derby County.

He has over 25 years experience in sport having also worked in the National Basketball Association with teams such as the Charlotte Bobcats.

Tim Hinchey joins USA Swimming from MLS club Colorado Rapids, where he served as President for six years  ©Getty Images
Tim Hinchey joins USA Swimming from MLS club Colorado Rapids, where he served as President for six years ©Getty Images

"This is an exciting time for USA Swimming and Tim Hinchey’s track record of business success and proven leadership abilities are well-suited to guide our future direction," said USA Swimming Board of Directors chairman Jim Sheehan. 

"I’m excited to work with Tim and also for our staff and membership to experience the reasons why the Board of Directors selected him. 

"Tim's experience in sport at multiple levels will be invaluable to help us embrace the opportunities that can take swimming to the next level."

Wielgus, diagnosed with cancer in 2006, had confirmed back in January that he would retire this coming August.

He joined the organisation in July 1997 and is widely credited with helping to grow the success of the sport in the US.

During his tenure, the American team won 156 podium medals at five Olympic Games from Sydney 2000 to Rio 2016.

Wielgus was criticised, though, following a sexual abuse scandal in the organisation.

He released his first public apology in June 2014, although it first came to light four years earlier.

Wielgus had been in the middle of a very public battle between himself and the victims at the hands of swim coaches, culminating with his withdrawal from the 2014 International Swimming Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Although not directly involved in any of the abuse, Wielgus had been criticised for allegedly ignoring the scandal within USA Swimming with an online petition set up to bring about his removal.

Writing in his blog, Wielgus apologised for his actions in the four years since claiming in a television interview that he did not owe the sexual abuse victims an apology.