Dolphins coach says pressure has increased quality at world trials
Dolphins head coach Jacco Verhaeren says less must be more for Australia's elite swimmers as he prepares to unleash a small but potent squad on the FINA World Championships in Korea next month.
The straight-shooting Dutchman could have easily added another dozen swimmers to his roster but Swimming Australia's stricter qualifying times have trimmed the roster to about 30 athletes, a number of whom have put their rivals on notice with eye-catching swims at trials in Brisbane during the week.
FINA sets an A qualifying standard time but SA went beyond that to ensure those that are travelling are likely to be in contention for the finals of their invidual events. It's a move that has ensured more competitive, high-pressure racing on the domestic front, which was a key take-out after the Rio Olympics in 2016.
"We have strong qualification standards, some well under FINA A standards, but we select on purpose from top eight at the last worlds, which was a fast world championship," Verhaeren said.
"We select based on entry times for finals there because that is what we require from our individuals. It's a small team but very strong and in my opinion, it is not the size that decides the success of the team, it is the strength of the team."
Some of the regular suspects have laid down a marker over the past week at the Chandler pool, with Kyle Chalmers, Cate Campbell and Ariarne Titmus all looking in fine touch little more than a month out from the biggest meet of the year and a key stop on the way to Tokyo.
But it has been the resurgence of swimmers such as Mitch Larkin and Emma McKeon, the continued emergence of new distance star Jack McLaughlin and breaststroker Matt Wilson and the impressive depth around key relays that has Verhaeren quitely confident of some good returns against the world's best in Gwangju.
The shift of trials closer to major meets, which largely mirrors the American system, has proven to be a success so far and Verhaeren now wants the Dolphins to build on the strong returns of last year's Commonwealth Games and the Pan Pacs meet in Japan.
"Were not in the business of predicting medals, because we cant, especially gold medals. At the end of the day, all these athletes and coaches have Read More – Source[contf] [contfnew]