The rumors surrounding an ongoing relationship between Australian Swimming Coach Denis Cotterell and the Chinese contingency continue to swirl. The latest news from down under is that China is planning on building a swimming super center of sorts in Australia, banking on Cotterell taking the reins of the to-be-built pool.
Speaking to Australia’s The Daily Telegraph, Cotterell said recently, “There was some talk at some stage, I haven’t heard anything that they have gone ahead with that. I have had contact, but I just said, ‘Keep it simple, I’ve got other things to consider’.”
The Daily Telegraph also cites a source confirming that the Chinese government had indeed approached Cotterell to lead the Chinese team at the facility. “The Chinese have been looking for a plot of land near Currumbin, Gold Coast, where they like to stay when training in Australia,” the source said.
“Swimming Australia is just ignoring this situation, the way they do with everything. The fact is one of our best coaches is now set to coach the Chinese.”
In December, Cotterell called recent reports claiming a formal contract has been signed between himself and Chinese swimming to the tune of $1 million as ‘rubbish.’ But at the same time he was quoted last year as having said, “I might move to China full-time one day. Why wouldn’t I? Why wouldn’t I consider taking my skills to a place where they are valued. I have given my life to Australian swimming but, at the end of the day, my knowledge and my skills are worth more somewhere else.”
Cotterell, who has guided such stellar athletes in the past as Grant Hackett and Michael Klim, most recently finished up his stint at Miami Swimming Club, which included an elite squad touting such names as Tommy Fraser-Holmes, Dan Smith and Swedish star Michelle Coleman. The group operated under Australia’s High Performance Centre program. However, the Olympic-caliber squad has now dissolved, with remaining members TFH moving to Bond Swimming Club and Smith kicking off the next quadrennial at St. Peters Western.
The storied coach has a long history of having worked with Chinese swimmers in the past, however. Not only has he hosted several different Chinese training groups throughout his time at Miami, Cotterell had a major hand in the success of Sun Yang at the 2012 Olympic Games. Cotterell helped coach the Chinese athlete, who earned gold at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.
According to The Telegraph’s source, “They treat him like a king in China — he has been entertained by the Chinese government and personally thanked by the Chinese government for his efforts with the Chinese team over the years.
“They have flown him over to China many times, he has picked up a bit of Mandarin and they love that.
“Meanwhile Swimming Australia has shafted one of the greatest swimming coaches we have ever produced. This has astounded the Chinese.”