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Verhaeren appointed to Australian swimming job

October 17, 2013

SYDNEY (AP) — Jacco Verhaeren has been appointed as head coach of the Australian swimming squad, bucking a recent trend in Australian sports to dispense with foreign coaches.

The 44-year-old Verhaeren, who worked with Dutch greats Pieter van den Hoogenband and Inge De Bruijn and has been involved in five Olympics and eight world championships, recently quit as coach of the Netherlands national team.

Since July, Australian sports have fired foreign coaches and hired local replacements; a move made by the national rugby union and cricket teams and likely to be followed in football, too.

The Australian swimming job has been vacant since Leigh Nugent left in March in the fallout from the team’s below-par performance and disciplinary problems at the London Olympics.

“To be world best, we must search the world for the very best people and we believe we have done this in appointing Jacco Verhaeren ... to work with our existing world class athletes and coaches,” Swimming Australia president John Betrand said.

Verhaeren will join take over in January to prepare the team for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Pan-Pacific championships.

“Australian swimming is extremely well respected on the international stage,” Verhaeren said. “In the Netherlands we are a small swimming nation that has worked hard technically to maximize every opportunity. We’ve had some success working on those technical elements and I hope to bring that focus and drive to this new role in Australia.”

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