Jacco Verhaeren Appointed French Performance Director Ahead Of Paris 2024

Jacco Verhaeren
Jacco Verhaeren - Photo Courtesy: SwimmingWorld.TV

Jacco Verhaeren Appointed French Performance Director Ahead Of Paris 2024

Jacco Verhaeren, who spent seven years as head coach of Swimming Australia, has been appointed French performance director ahead of a home Olympic Games in Paris 2024.

The 52-year-old guided Pieter van den Hoogenband, Inge de Bruijn and Ranomi Kromowidjojo to a total of 10 Olympic gold medals in the Netherlands before heading to Australia in 2013.

He left there in September 2020 following a tenure which saw Australia finish second in the medal table at Rio 2016 and the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju.

KROMOWIDJOJO Ranomi NED 50 Freestyle Women Final Gold Medal Swimming Budapest - Hungary 18/5/2021 Duna Arena XXXV LEN European Aquatic Championships Photo Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Ranomi Kromowidjojo: Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Since his return to Europe, Verhaeren has also worked with the German Swimming Federation (DSV).

On Wednesday, the French Swimming Federation (Federation Francaise Natation) announced he would be taking on the role at the helm of pool and open water swimming following Toky.

The appointment is part of the “Ambition Bleue” project – a collaboration between the FFN and the National Sports Agency – which is seeking to improve standards across all sports in France.

Verhaeren, who will be based in Eindhoven, Netherlands, explained how the appointment came about, telling www.ffnatation.fr:

“First of all, I would like to say that it is an honour to have been asked to take on this role. I am very grateful for the opportunity given to me.

“In the past, I have already had contact with Julien (Issoulié, FFN national technical director) while I was still working in Australia.

“When the Tokyo Olympics were postponed due to the global pandemic, I decided to return to the Netherlands.

“Quite naturally, Julien and I resumed our discussions.

“I have always been impressed by French swimmers and coaches.

“I particularly appreciated the different competitions that I was given to share with them as well as the training camps on which we crossed paths.”

Inge de Bruijn

Inge De Bruijn – Photo Courtesy – Swimming World Magazine

Of what appealed to him in particular, he added:

“Discovering new cultures and working with different people has always animated me, even more since my Australian experience (2013-2020).

“Over the past six months, I have also had the chance to collaborate with the German Swimming Federation.

“It gave me another point of view on methods that I knew nothing about.

“The experience that awaits me in France is part of this process.

“It is, moreover, an immense privilege to work in a country which will host the Games in 2024.

“These opportunities are very rare when working in an Olympic sport. This is something that I want to embrace.

“Of course, there will undoubtedly be pressures, expectations and challenges, but that’s the allure of super high performance.”

Of how his past experiences in the Netherlands and Australia will help him understand the French aquatic environment, he said:

“I think sport in general, swimming in particular, and high performance are universal.

“I realised that I had a lot more in common than in differences with the people I worked with in the Netherlands, Australia and, more recently, Germany.

“For them as for me, the challenge is daily and the commitment is total!

“That said, no coach or athlete works the same.

“So instead of comparing nations, I try to address individual needs and what the team needs to be successful.”

Florent Manaudou Doha 2014

Florent Manaudou: Photo Courtesy: FINA Doha 2014

Claude Onesta, manager of High Performance at the National Sports Agency, said:

“The arrival of a high-quality, experienced technician is excellent news for French swimming.

“Jacco will be able to rely on the expertise of French coaches in order to create a strong dynamic to promote the ambition of the French teams in view of the Paris 2024 JOPs.

“We have worked closely with the federation to make the arrival of Jacco a reality.

“A first investment of 200,000 Euros (244,000 US dollars), contributing to the latter’s payroll, operating costs as well as the promotion of coaches of structures of excellence, has been agreed between the Agency and the president of the FFN .”


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