Former Aussie Head Coach Jacco Verhaeren Joins German Staff

Former Australian national team head coach Jacco Verhaeren may have left his post down under as of late last year, but the man is wasting no time finding new professional opportunities.

Verhaeren left Swimming Australia as of September of 2020, seeking not to extend his contract with the organization. Rohan Taylor took over the Dutchman’s position, with Verhaeren intending to return home to Europe.

Just a few months later and the German Swimming Association (DSV) has revealed that 52-year-old Verhaeren will serve on the national coaching team’s staff.

Per the DSV, ‘with the help of Verhaeren’s recognized expertise, a new competitive sports concept for the short distances from 50 to 200 meters is to be developed together with the DSV trainers and training scientists and implemented at the DSV federal bases – starting with the junior division.’

German national coach Hannes Vitense says of the vision for Verhaeren’s involvement, Jacco Verhaeren is without a doubt one of the most well-known coaches of our time, we are very happy about the possibility of such a transfer of knowledge.

“Above all, our youngsters will benefit from Jacco Verhaeren‘s advice and input in the long term. We want to identify

Additional German national coach Bernd Berkhahn said, “We want to be successful with the DSV even over the short distances, as we were before, for example, with the two Olympic victories in 2008 by Britta Steffen. That’s why I’m looking forward to exchanging ideas with a successful man like Jacco Verhaeren.

For his part, Verhaeren says of the new venture, “As a foreigner, you are not part of history and culture, but you are also not part of possible problems. It already helped me in Australia to be able to start with a blank sheet of paper so that I could initiate sustainable development.

“I hope I can do that with the help of the current trainers and the entire DSV staff, In any case, I’m really looking forward to this task in a traditional swimming nation like Germany.

As a Dutchman, I know the demands and opportunities of the neighboring country well enough to tackle this job with maximum motivation.”

Although Florian Wellbrock made history at the 2019 FINA World Championships by becoming the first man to take gold both in the pool (1500m free), as well as open water (10k), the German sprinting contingent has been lacking.

At the 2016 Olympic Games, the highest placing sprint freestylers, for instance, were represented by Damian Wierling on the men’s side and Dorothea Brandt on the women’s. The former finished 15th overall in the men’s 100m freestyle, while the latter wound up 14th in the 50m free.

The men’s 400m free relay did not advance to the Rio final, while Germany did not field a women’s 400m free relay at the last Games.

Australia, on the other hand, has rarely lacked when it comes to sprinters, with the reigning men’s 100m freestyle gold medalist from Rio, Kyle Chalmers, hailing from the nation. Cate Campbell, Bronte Campbell, Emma McKeon, Cameron McEvoy, James Magnussen , and more have helped situate Australia as one of the premier sprinting nations on the planet in recent years.

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1 month ago

Over all Australia went backwards as a swimming nation under the Dutchman watch . He failed miserably in preparing the team when it came to competing at the Olympics .

Reply to  kevin
1 month ago

Based on what? I am not an insider, but from the outside it looks as if Australia was much better in 2019 (17 medals in olympics events at worlds) than in 2012 (10 medals at the olympics). He also only had one olympic games, so not really sure whether you can really derive anything from that. Australia also seems to be set up nicely for the future with athletes like McKeown, Atherton, Titmus, Winnington or Wilson, but i am not really sure if he had any part in that. You also have to consider that Germany and Australia have very different standards, for Germany it would be a good result to win any medal at the olympics (after not winning… Read more »

1 month ago

Don’t think been in charge of swimming nations is the best road for this guy. He should be europa’s version of Dave Marsh.
Sprint coach to elite seniors. Not getting Germany’s 50/200 swimmers on the Jan Albretch model

Reply to  Skoorbnagol
1 month ago

He isn’t really in charge …
He will be responsible for helping german swimmers closer to world level in events from 50 m to 200 m and if you look at the state of german sprinting (with some exceptions), it can’t get much worse. Germany (basically only thanks to Bernd Berkhahn) has developed quite nicely in distance freestyle events, but the sprint department is really weak, so any new input will be welcome. You don’t necessarily have to be a powerhouse to be good in sprint events. France and the Netherlands aren’t really powerhouses, but somehow they always manage to develope sprinters who are good enough to compete at world level. Germany should maybe try to copy their methods,… Read more »

1 month ago

I get the critics… but to be fair, it can only get upwards for Germany. They’ve recovered a bit in the last years, but they’re nowhere near the big player they once were as a swimming nation.

Reply to  FSt
1 month ago

1) I agree that it can’t get much worse for Germany, but recently there were some positive developments. Köhler and Wellbrock have a good chance to medal at the olympics and Hentke/Heintz/Koch have an outside chance to medal. At the last 3 olympics combined only one german swimmer (Britta Steffen) won any medals and at the last two olympics Germany didn’t win any medals, so any medal in Tokyo would already be a huge upgrade. Also i am not sure if Germany reaally ever was a big player in swimming, it was mostly the GDR. Even after the downfall of the GDR, many of the best german swimmers were still products of that system.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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