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 Herald, Verhaeren 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.