Joop Alberda, the Technical Director of the Dutch Swimming National Federation, will not join the team’s delegation to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the organization announced today.
Technical Director is considered the top coaching role for the National Team in Dutch Swimming, and Alberda was given the role in January 2014 despite having no experience in swimming. His sporting background is primarily in volleyball, where he was both a world class player and coach, including leading the Dutch men’s National Team to gold at the 1996 Olympics.
Alberda had already announced his pending resignation for after the Olympics, citing the need to turn the role over to the “next generation,” but he was still expected to lead the delegation to Rio.
“As technical director of swimming (KNZB), I decided not to go with the team to the Olympics in Rio,” Alberda said.”Recently, talk of the management of the National Team has become more and more a concern for me, which does not make for an ideal sports climate. I’m worried that I would get in the way for now and especially later during the Games. From my long professional sports experience I know that for outstanding achievements, everything with and around the team has to be right, down to the smallest detail. I make this decision only from respect for athletes who have gone to great efforts to be successful in Rio.
I am confident that the athletes are ready. In recent years worked hard and consistently in the context of preparations for Rio. Based on the recent performance in Kazan, London and Horn we can have confidence. I am sure the coaches athletes in Rio will assist appropriately, on the road to success. ”
The federation’s board says that they support and agree with Alberda’s decision to not go, with a statement saying that “We are extremely concerned about the current atmosphere, which has been caused by several people, but at this stage their is one interest above all: tranquility in and around the team with 100 percent focus on the Olympics.”
Alberda took over the program when his predecessor Jacco Verhaeren left to become the head coach of the Australian swim team.
In Alberda’s absence, Hans van Goor will lead the delegation instead. Van Goor is a member of the KNZB swimming board of directors and has experience with large delegations in both swimming and ice skating. While never himself an Olympian, van Goor was twice an open water European Championships medalist and held the European Record for English Channel crossing from 1995 through 2003. He is married to Edith van Dijk, one of history’s great open water swimmers and a three-time open water World Champion.