Sydney, June 3 (IANS) Jacco Verhaeren has decided to step down as Australian swimming head coach and will return to his home country of the Netherlands for family reasons.
Choosing not to extend his contract with Swimming Australia – which was due to be completed in November 2020 after the Tokyo Olympics – Verhaeren will now finish in his role at the end of September.
Swimming Australia said in a statement on Wednesday: “With COVID-19 forcing the postponement of the Games, Verhaeren carefully considered every possible scenario to stay, but ultimately made the tough decision to return home after many discussions with his family and Swimming Australia.”
Verhaeren worked with the Dutch national swim team for a number of years, coaching Pieter van den Hoogenband, Inge de Bruijn, and Ranomi Kromowidjojo to multiple Olympic gold medals, before moving to Australia to take up the role with Swimming Australia in 2013.
“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.
Swimming Australia President John Bertrand said Verhaeren left a strong legacy for Australian swimming.
“Jacco has left his indelible imprint on high performance swimming in this country. His constant search for new developments and his curiosity has taken our thinking to a new level.
Stepping into Verhaeren’s role to oversee the Tokyo campaign is current state head coach (Victoria and Tasmania) Rohan Taylor, who has also worked closely with Verhaeren and the Dolphins swim team as its coach leader.