Luka Gabrilo Hired by Philippines to Train New Arrival Kayla Sanchez

Kayla Sanchez-Olympic Swimming Trials-f-21june2021Photo Scott Grant
Kayla Sanchez. Photo Courtesy: Scott Grant

Luka Gabrilo Hired by Philippines to Train New Arrival Kayla Sanchez

Philippine Swimming Inc. announced this week that it has hired Luka Gabrilo as the full-time coach for Kayla Sanchez on the road to the Paris Olympics in 2024.

Gabrilo will be based in Manilla, working with Sanchez, who switched her national allegiances from Canada to the Philippines.

Sanchez, 21, won a silver medal in the women’s 400 free relay and bronze in the women’s 400 medley relay at the Tokyo Olympics. Born in Singapore and emigrating to Canada, she announced in July that she would switch allegiances to the country of her parents’ birth.

Sanchez has 10 career medals at World Championships (long- and short-course). She represents a rare medal threat for the Asian country. Sanchez finished 22nd in the 50 free in Tokyo and was 10th in prelims of the 100 free before withdrawing from semifinals.

Gabrilo’s staff includes Jan Herber, a physiotherapist who worked for 14 years with the Dutch Swimming Federation.

Gabrilo played a big role in an Israeli swimming renaissance. At the Tokyo Olympics, Israel turned heads by making the final in the mixed medley relay, among a slew of downed national records. Anastasia Gorbenko has won gold medals in the 200 IM at the European Championships in both 2021 and 2022.

After the Tokyo Olympics, Gabrilo went to the International Swimming League to coach Team Iron in its third season.

Before his stint with Israel, Gabrilo coached with the Swiss national team. He also coached with David Marsh at Team Elite. The native of Switzerland is the son of Yugoslav Olympic gold medalist and International Swimming Hall of Famer Durda Bjedov.

Gabrilo has Sanchez training for a spell with a pair of Olympians, Sweden’s Erik Persson and the Czech Republic’s Barbora Seemanova, as they give youth clinics in the country.