Aussie swim coach walks out ahead of Tokyo Games
Rohan Taylor will take over as head coach of the Australian swimming team for next year's postponed Tokyo Olympics after Jacco Verhaeren announced he was stepping down in September after seven years in the role.
Verhaeren's contract was due to expire in November but the Dutchman has brought forward his departure date after choosing to return to his homeland in The Netherlands rather than seek an extension.
"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.
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"I am honoured to have had the opportunity to serve this amazing swim team and nation for almost seven years and I am confident that there are many good people around to ensure the continued success for swimming in this country, and that the team is ready to face any challenge.
"I am incredibly proud of the systems and strategies that have been implemented - from the national relay project, to the reintroduction of national event camps and an improved campaign structure and leadership model.
"But these plans and systems would be nothing without the talented people from across the organisation and our high performance programs that come together to work towards our goals, and I thank them all immensely."
Swimming Australia chief executive Leigh Russell said she understood the reasons behind Verhaeren's decision to return to Europe as he has a young family but was confident Taylor would fill the void.
"I know first-hand the sacrifices made by families that support a coach striving for sporting success and at some point, it is the right time to put family needs above anything else," she said.
"I know Rohan is primed to lead the way on the revised journey to Tokyo having worked closely with Jacco over a number of campaigns.
"His passion and commitment for our athletes, coaches and staff is apparent to everyone who works with him. He has our full support and will work closely with Jacco during the next few months to make the transition as seamless as possible."
Taylor, who formerly coached Olympic champion Leisel Jones, said he had been working closely with Verhaeren to prepare for the role.
"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.
"I look forward to working with Jacco during this transition period and beginning work with our high performance programs and Swimming Australia staff as we count down to the Olympics."
Verhaeren, who coached Pieter van den Hoogenband, Inge de Bruijn, and Ranomi Kromowidjojo to gold medals for The Netherlands, was poached by Swimming Australia after the disastrous 2012 London Olympics campaign when the Dolphins won just one gold.
Australia's swimmers won three gold medals under him at Rio in 2016.
Originally published as Aussie swim coach walks out ahead of Tokyo Games