Olympic legend Dawn Fraser says Australia’s new swimming coach, Jacco Verhaeren, is likely to get the chop if the team doesn’t improve this year.
Jacco Verhaeren won’t see out the year as Australia’s head swimming coach if the team fails to perform at the Commonwealth Games and world championships, says Olympic legend Dawn Fraser.
Verhaeren took over the role from Leigh Nugent in January after a seven-year stint as technical director for the Dutch Swimming Federation.
With five Olympic Games under his belt, the 44-year-old has guided some of The Netherlands’ greatest swimmers, including Pieter van den Hoogenband, Inge De Bruin and Ranomi Kromowidjojo.
His first big test will come next week when Australia’s best head to Brisbane for the national titles.
The event will double as selection trials for the Commonwealth Games starting in July.
“He’s got a big job ahead of him,” Fraser told AAP ahead of the Laureus World Sports Awards in Kuala Lumpur.
“Whether he is as successful as some of our Australian coaches or what he brings into the country, I don’t know.
“But if he’s being paid the money that I’ve heard he’s being paid, he’s going to have to do a bloody good job. Otherwise his contract will be torn up and told `see you later’.
“I think they’ll give him until the world championships to see what the improvement is.
“But from all accounts, there is an improvement and that’s all I can go by.”
Fraser was confident that the Australian team had learnt their lesson from a disastrous campaign at London 2012, praising the likes of Cate Campbell and James Magnussen, who she says had “settled down a bit”.
“We’ve got a couple of young kids coming through which might make a bit of a scene at the Commonwealth Games this year,” she said.
“That will be the start of our up and coming, I think.
“We had a bad year in London … but they’ve all taken a notch out of the book and said `Right, we’re not going to do that anymore’.
“I don’t think that the London team had the right sort of coaching there to stop them from taking Stilnox and stuff like that.
“I don’t think that’ll ever happen again. They’ve had their fingers burnt once – which is good.
“I think we are on the road to recovery – a big road to recovery.”