Verhaeren quits as Australia coach following Olympic delay
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Jacco Verhaeren is standing down as head coach of Australia’s swim team, leaving Rohan Taylor to guide the Olympic squad in Tokyo next year.
Verhaeren was contracted until after the 2020 Olympics but when the Tokyo Games were postponed by 12 months because of the coronavirus pandemic, he made the decision to return to the Netherlands with his family.
Verhaeren worked with Olympic champions Pieter van den Hoogenband and Inge de Bruijn when he led the Dutch swimming program and was hired in 2013 to overhaul Australia’s set up following the team’s disappointing medal haul at the London Olympics in 2012.
“I tried to look for ways to extend, but you can’t compromise in a high performance environment, nor did I want to compromise my family,” Verhaeren said in a statement Wednesday. “I am honored to have had the opportunity to serve this amazing swim team for almost seven years and I am confident that there are many good people”around to ensure the continued success.
Australia ranked second to the United States on the medal standings at the 2015 and ’19 world swimming championships and at the 2016 Olympic pool.
Verhaeren will remain in Australia until September in a transition phase with Taylor, who coached three-time Olympic gold medalist Leisel Jones and was part of the national coaching program.
“Jacco has laid the groundwork for our Olympic campaign and I have worked closely with him and our Olympic leadership team, so believe I am well placed to see those plans through and lead our team to success in Tokyo next year,” Taylor said.