Australian swimming coach Denis Cotterell told the Australian Free Press today that Swimming Australia had issued no such edict that he cease coaching international athletes, calling the report “totally erroneous”.
Swimming Australia earlier this week also denied the story, saying that they had made no mention of a ban on the matter.
Cotterell is one of the most successful (if not the most successful) distance coach in history after having coached the swimmers who have held the World Record in the men’s 1500 freestyle for the last 18 years, among others.
In another report in the Gold Coast Bulletin, Cotterell clarified where the confusion may have come from. “I said I wanted to have a break until the end of the year and just see what was happening,” Cotterell recalled. That, combined with the well-trod belief that Swimming Australia “prefers” that Cotterell didn’t coach international athletes, might have led to the confusion.
The issue was surrounding Cotterell’s coaching of Chinese superstar Sun Yang and several of his Chinese teammates in the leadup to the Olympics. Cotterell coach Yang to two gold medals (the 400 and 1500 frees) as well as a smashing of the World Record in the 1500: a record that before Yang’s assault on it under the guidance of an Aussie coach had resided down under for nearly two decades.
The story seems to have begun when another Chinese swimmer, Hao Yun, told Chinese Swimming officials that he had heard rumor that such a move was going to happen; this comment seemed to spiral out-of-control after Yang’s confirmation that he had “heard” the same thing.
It seems for now, though, that this is a non-issue.