Swimmers urged to toughen up
HEAD coach Jacco Verhaeren wants a hard competitive edge from Australia’s swimmers at Budapest’s World Championships as his team looks to rebound from last year’s underperforming Rio Olympics.
The Dolphins want to up their game when the world championships start on Sunday after winning three gold medals, four silver and three bronze in Rio, but well under their tally projections.
Not one of their top rankings was converted into an Olympic gold medal as world leaders including Cate Campbell and Cameron McEvoy succumbed to the crushing weight of home expectations.
Australia finished second on the swimming medal tally, but was a distant 23 medals away from the United States.
Olympic 400m freestyle champion Mack Horton is back to renew his feisty rivalry with Chinese superstar Sun Yang, and Emily Seebohm, Mitch Larkin and Bronte Campbell will defend their world crowns.
Dutchman Verhaeren has switched Australian swimming’s approach to international competition with important lead- up meets scheduled closer to the bigger events in a bid to toughen up his swimmers.
“We certainly had some great wins ( in Rio), but we also had some losses, undoubtedly,” Verhaeren said.
“That’s why it’s very important to approach every tournament we go to in the most serious way.”