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Swimming legend Laurie Lawrence says outgoing Australian head coach is ‘a w**ker’

Swimming legend Laurie Lawrence says outgoing Australian head coach is ‘a w**ker’
July 5, 2020

Veteran swimming coach and water safety advocate Laurie Lawrence has expressed his distaste for former Australian head coach Jacco Verhaeren, labelling the Dutchman a “w*nker” in an interview with Sydney newspaper The Daily Telegraph.

Verhaeren’s controversial and incredibly strict Olympic selection policy means winners of this year’s national trials could still miss out on a spot at the games, thanks to the coach’s requirement that swimmers must post a time that would have qualified at consecutive world championships to be eligible for Olympic selection.

Lawrence (pictured), also a former coach of the Australian swimming team, was highly critical of Verhaeren’s selection policy, stating “Jacco’s a w*nker, and you can quote me on that.”

He went on “it makes me want to spew. It should be first and second and away you go.

“It’s cutthroat enough to finish first or second at the trials but plenty of swimmers are pure racers that will improve when they get to the Olympics.”

Verhaeren’s policy is set to live on for Swimming Australia, despite the coach announcing he was stepping down to return to the Netherlands for personal reasons earlier in June this year.

He will be replaced by Rohan Taylor.

Swimming Australia’s high performance manager Alex Baumann said the stringent qualifying requirements would remain in place despite Verhaeren’s departure.

Baumann said the selection policy was designed to ensure athletes were better prepared for the environment of the Olympics, explaining “obviously that puts pressure on athletes during the trials but when you get to the Olympics, it’s a pressure cooker and you have to be able to deal with a lot of distractions and perform under those conditions.

“We’re going to consider all these things and we have to be fairly flexible but right now we’re fairly comfortable that these are the right appropriate times.”

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5th July 2019 - Jacco Verhaeren to leave Swimming Australia after Tokyo Olympics

4th March 2019 - Laurie Lawrence’s online resource aims to improve swim teaching around the world

25th June 2018 - Laurie Lawrence introduces Olympian’s child to swimming lessons in Adelaide

10th August 2017 - Laurie Lawrence and Julie Zancanaro to be inducted into International Swimming Hall of Fame

7th September 2014 - Federal Government backs Laurie Lawrence’s anti-drowning initiative

7th December 2010 - Laurie Lawrence Shares tips for a Water-safe Summer

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