Shannon Rollason, the highly-respected swimming coach who has overseen Denmark’s explosion of talent the past two seasons, will resign as coach of the National Training Center at the end of 2014.
Rollason informed the Danish Swimming Federation of his plans to resign from the job following this December’s Short Course World Championships. Rollason cited family reasons for his resignation, and will move back to his native Australia to be closer to his family.
Rollason took over the National Training Center in Denmark in the spring of 2013. In just under a year and a half, his swimmers have blown up on the international stage. Rollason’s training group includes world record-holder Rikke Moller Pedersen, who won the 100 and 200 breaststrokes at the European Championships this summer, Euros 100 fly champ Jeanette Ottesen and gold medal-winning medley relay anchor Pernille Blume.
The Danish Swimming Federation announced the move today. You can find their release on the subject (in Danish) here. It appears this move comes as a shock to the federation, which had Rollason under contract through the 2016 Olympics. Still, federation representatives expressed their understanding that family needs take precedence over professional requirements.
A rough translation of Danish Swimming Director Pia Holmen‘s statement:
We have to admit that Shannon’s dismissal was certainly not part of the plan up to Rio 2016 At the same time we must respect the fact that private interests may affect the professional life, and it has unfortunately been the case here. We are now starting to find solutions so that we continue to have an optimal set-up around the swimmers at the national training center NTC.
For now, it appears the National Training Center coaching role will be taken over by Stefan Hansen, currently an assistant at the NTC, when Rollason leaves in December. Denmark won 6 gold medals at the European Championships this past summer, the second-highest total of any nation.
Click this link to read a feature piece we reported on Rollason last summer.