In addition to the news that NC State standout Nyls Korstanje is leaving his college home for the Eindhoven National Training Centre, another big announcement came out of the Netherlands today.
Sharon van Rouwendaal, 10k Olympic gold medalist from Rio, has ended her collaboration with longtime coach Philippe Lucas. After 7 successful years together, Van Rouwendaal has decided to make the move to Magdeburg, Germany training under German coach Bernd Berkhahn who already has Florian Wellbrock in his stable.
Wellbrock made history at the 2019 FINA World Championships by taking gold in both the men’s 1500m freestyle pool event, as well as the 10k open water race.
Van Rouwendaal says of her coaching change-up just a year out from the Tokyo Olympic Games, “In the last year I started to doubt too often and too strongly about the collaboration with Philippe. I have become an Olympic champion under his leadership and I am very grateful to him, but I am ready for change and something new.
“Last season I did a number of training internships with the group of Bernd Berkhahn, who is also the German national team coach, and I really liked it. I have now taken the plunge and I am very happy to be able to work in Bernd’s team. I can now prepare without worry and with full conviction for successful Games in Tokyo next year. ”
Top Sport Director Andre Cats stated of the change, “The coaches of the KNZB (Thijs Hagelstein and Marcel Wouda) have had intensive contact with Sharon in the last period and fully support her choice to go to Bernd Berkhahn‘s German success program.
“The KNZB helps Sharon to make possible the training internships at height, which are an important part of the training program. During the tournaments and matches, Sharon is supported by the Dutch support team. In that sense, little will change for Sharon and our coaches will build a great partnership with Sharon’s new coach. ”
Sharon currently resides in Montpelier and is preparing to move. Around August 17, she starts the training program in Magdeburg, continuing the preparation for the Olympic Games, for which she is already qualified.