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.