Jacco Verhaeren Leaving Australia After Tokyo 2020

We knew from his contract extension announced back in 2015 that Swimming Australia Head Coach Jacco Verhaeren would remain at the helm through the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, but anything beyond that was still up in the air. That is, until now.

Per The Sydney Morning HeraldVerhaeren will be returning to Europe after Tokyo.

Verhaeren has been at the Aussie helm since 2013, having left his role as Technical Director for the Royal Dutch Swimming Federation (KNZB). He is among those credited with rehabbing the Aussie swimming culture after a tumultuous 2012 Olympics, which included the ‘Stilnox scandal’ and disappointing results overall in London.

The Dutchman is also responsible for the reshaping of the Australian Trials timing to model that of the United States, with Trials moving closer to the main event. We saw this first be implemented last year in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games and also just last week with the World Trials prior to Gwangju.

Now comes the hunt to replace very big shoes to be left by Verhaeren, with some looking to the Aussie past of potentially looking at past National Team Coach Leigh Nugent or Rohan Taylor.

Additional internal names will no doubt include Aussie coaching royalty to the tune of Michael Bohl of Griffith University, Richard Scarce of Bond, Simon Cusack of NSWIS, just to name a few.

Another interesting prospect could be American coach Gregg Troy, the storied University of Florida coach with such powerhouse swimmers as Ryan Lochte and Caeleb Dressel to his credit. Troy had conversations with Swimming Australia for the Head Coach role back in 2013, but he withdrew his name from consideration.

Troy retired from the Florida coaching position last April after 20 years in the role, so perhaps the timing is right to throw his name back into the ring.

Tracey Menzies, who coached Ian Thorpe in the back-half of his career, has also been climbing the coaching ladder recently, including a stop at the Australian Institute of Sport with the Australian National Training Centre.

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Jacco Verhaeren may be credited, rightly or wrongly, with many things. But, the process of revitalizing Aussie Swimming after London certainly didn’t go as planned for him or the athletes: evidence #1: Rio Olympics – that was a pretty sorry Games for the Aussies. And look at the almost ‘shambolic’ team it will be sending to Worlds next month. Sure, they’ll win some medals, but Tokyo will not be any better than Rio, and with some probability, worse.


Shambolic team please explain you referring to the number of the team or what ?


Jacco certainly hasn’t had the impact I feel Australia would of hoped, personally I feel it’s been a disaster. Sprinting was his speciality and Aussie women are really on fire but bombed at olympics, Kyle chalmers wins yet Aussie men have been poor in general. They’ll always have someone going fast ( Larkin / Horton / winnington) but no consistency between meets, for me they never rebuilt and recovered after Perkins/Klim/ susie O’Neill / Thorpe / hacket/ Welsh era.
As for gregg Troy , wow that would be a statement in going the opposite direction.


It might be time to try an American head coach for Aussie swimming .. just to instil the American team spirit and nationalism and aggressive competitiveness they display at major meets like the Olympics ..


why the down votes? I can understand Australia not wanting to take anything from the Americans – they are a phenomenal swimming country, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing, per se. USA swimming has its own problems, to be sure, but American swimming crushes it repeatedly (of course we have 330 million people to draw from, but still…).


people outside USA have brains do not need snake oil salesmen and prosperity gospel preachers to change something…..


I just don’t think this works. When Dennis Pursley tried that with the British team it just wasn’t the right approach. Things that work so well for the US can’t be forced on other countries and expected to have the same effect.

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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