Swimming legend Laurie Lawrence has made no secret about his distaste for former Australian head coach Jacco Verhaeren during a brutal interview with 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.
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Himself a former coach of the Australian swimming team, Lawrence said Verhaeren’s selection policy was unprecedented and makes him ‘want to spew’.
“Jacco’s a w*nker, and you can quote me on that,” Lawrence said.
“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.”
Swimming Australia maintain strict criteria
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.
At 78, Laurie Lawrence says Aussie Olympic selection policy ‘makes me want to spew’ https://t.co/Efnwlik0q1— StateOfSwimming.com (@StateOfSwimming) July 3, 2020
Baumann said the selection policy was designed to ensure athletes were better prepared for the ‘pressure cooker’ environment of the Olympics.
“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,” Baumann said.
“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.”