‘First a breathing spell, and then we’ll see what happens’. That was Jacco Verhaeren’s plan when he returned to the Netherlands in September 2020, after sever successful but demanding years as Australia’s national coach. And things were happening alright. When Maurits Hendriks in February announced that he would be retiring as ‘NOC*NSF’s technical director, the NOS news organisation assumed there was just one person who could succeed Hendriks, and ‘his name is Jacco Verhaeren’. But at this point the swimming coach does not aspire to this position. Jacco currently trains coaches of the German swimming association, and works with Toine Schouten of FluxPlus on the development of chrono coaching. This is a method of regulating the biological clock to enhance performance in sport.
The Covid-19 pandemic made it impossible for Jacco Verhaeren to crown his Australian career with the Olympics in Tokyo. ‘When I left for Australia seven years ago, we were aiming for Tokyo’, he remembered. ‘Of course Rio came first, but I came onboard half-way the cycle and we would need five to six years to roll out the full plan. Of course I am sorry I won’t be going to Tokyo, but my successor had the chance to work with me for a while, and I knew I would be leaving the team in good hands.’ The choice in favour of the Netherlands was a choice in favour of his family. Verhaeren: ‘I got an offer to stay on in Australia for another year, but because of Covid I could no longer travel between Australia and the Netherlands. That made the choice easy.’
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