China Daily: Swimming Australia Bans Cotterell From Training Foreigners

  35 Braden Keith | September 24th, 2012 | International, News

Update: Swimming Australia denies China Daily report.

In apparently one of the first conclusions as Swimming Australia tries to rebound from a disappointing Olympic performance, the governing body for aquatics Down Under has banned Denis Cotterell from training foreign athletes, World Record holder Sun Yang told the English-language China Daily.

Cotterell is one of the most heralded distance coaches in history, and began work with Yang in 2010. Since then, Yang has gone on to win a World Championship, China’s first two ever men’s swimming Olympic gold medals, and destroy the World Record in the 1500 free. That’s a mark that previously belonged to another Cotterell prodigy: Grant Hackett. Yang did it with an efficiency of stroke that is unparalleled in the sport, and one that would seem to obviously have been influenced heavily by Cotterell.

Thus far, only the Chinese perspective on the story has been told, and one would imagine that the conversation between Swimming Australia and Cotterell was more intricate, complex, and nuanced than just an outright ban on coaching foreign athletes. No response from Swimming Australia was immediately received on the matter, though it is after business hours there.

This “ban” likely had some caveat about the ability to be a part of Australia’s National program while coaching international athletes, for example, or to receive Swimming Australia subsidies.

In the sense of an outright ban, it would likely result in Australia losing the services of one of their best coaches at a time when their men’s distance group is struggling mightily. That’s because the numbers that have been thrown out for how much China is paying Cotterell to coach Yang are staggering. China Daily reports on rumors that he received a $500,000 bonus for the World Record, and Cotterell has previously said that he makes four-times more per month for training Chinese swimmers than he does with his home club.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out, but with that level of success and money on the line, I would predict that Yang and Cotterell will find a way to be together through the next Olympics.

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35 Comments on "China Daily: Swimming Australia Bans Cotterell From Training Foreigners"

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I have a hard time believing Chinese swimmers can enroll and train in NCAA schools. They simply don’t have the required English proficiency. And worse than, they don’t have basic serviceable English. Case in point: Sun Yang jumped into the pool in the 1500m free final in London when the starter said “please stand back”. Maybe he was too nervous, or maybe he just didn’t understand what was said. He was the only one that jumped, so maybe he was the only one who didn’t understand it. Academic work is even harder for them. I don’t see it happening.

BTW, which foreign swimmers trained in US won medals in London?

Um, the 2012 NCAA women’s platform diving champion, Chen Ni came up through the Chinese sporting machine and, after getting a taste of America at an international juniors competition, made her way to IUPUI a few years later despite limited English proficiency at he time. She’s now working her way to a master’s degree here and has also gained US citizenship.

Chinese diving is incredibly deep and competitive. Many talented divers can’t make the roster of national team. So they go elsewhere. So is women’s weightlifting. One Chinese girl won gold for Kazakstan in London:-) But swimming is a totally different story. Elite swimmers are a rare commodity and heavily pampered. Reward for an Olympic swimming gold is way above those from other “minor sports”. I doubt world-class Chinese swimmers would choose that route.

Again I am right. Nowhere did I criticize Denis , nor did I believe Swimming Australia has prevented his coaching. The fact is Denis coaches 2 swimmers on the national team which imo did not warrant a spot for him on staff. He admitted he was hoping to sneak over to coach Sun during London. The cameras were on him during & after Sun’s race & most of the team looked happy. But it is not up to them . It is not unnoticed that Denis’s 2 Australian swimmers performed mediocre -as have all his swimmers since Pan Pacs 2010. I am a long term distance fan & am not ignorant of the challenges but I struggle with his swimmers… Read more »
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Braden Keith

The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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