Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Herald Tribune: "Swimmer Libby Trickett breaks with longtime coach"

Wow! Jessicah Schipper and now Libby Trickett! I am noticing that Australian swimmers are more aggressive in demanding results from their coaches than we Americans are. Libby Trickett nearly did not make it in the 100m free Olympic final and only did so when Chinese swimmer Pang was DQed for a false start. Trickett was the world record holder too and had to swim in the gutter against Britta Steffen.

Swimmers her in the US seem to marry their coaches more so than Australians. Cullen Jones seems prone to the Australian mindset whereas, like the Australians, he has made it clear that "he is the CEO of his career" and not his coach.

From the International Herald Tribune: Trickett, 23, told a news conference she was leaving Brisbane coach Stephan Widmer to train in Sydney under Grant Stoelwinder, who coaches world sprint record holder Eamon Sullivan.

"For me to commit to four more years, I needed new challenges and new stimulus and I think that's what this will bring for me," Trickett said. ..." [Link]

From the Sydney Morning Herald: "..."She rang and said, 'It's Libby,' and it took me a few moments - I let the voice play - then I was like, 'Oh, Libby'," Stoelwinder said. "It was a huge compliment. I spoke to Eamon, he's in Geneva, he's been to Oktoberfest and now is on his way to the Canary Islands. He's really excited. I think in Beijing, Libby asked Eamon a few questions about the program, and I think he had probably had some idea Libby was maybe looking at some options after Beijing."" [Link]


Steve said...

One thing to note is that most American swimmers change coaches when they start college. During the recruitment process, swimmers will visit many campuses and coaches, hoping to find one they will feel comfortable training under for four years.

In Australia, elite college swimming is non-existent. Australian swimmers will usually continue with their age group coach even if they go to university (which very few elite swimmers do). For example, Ian Thorpe was with Doug Frost for ten years before changing coaches at 20. Schipper was with Ken Wood for a decade before changing at 21. Hackett was with Cotterell from when he was 12 (not 100% on this) but only changed a couple of years ago. When Liesel left Ken Wood she was 18-19. Henry didn't change coaches until this year at 24.

It may seem odd that quite a few Australian swimmers change coaches in their early twenties, but I think they're just delaying a decision that American swimmers have to make when starting college.

Tony Austin said...

Great observation, I never thought about it that way though it still appears to me that Australians demand results from their programs most notably in their 20's.