Schlanger likes look of Verhaeren as new Australia coach

OLYMPIC gold medallist Melanie Schlanger hopes Australia's new head coach, Jacco Verhaeren, proves to be an innovative, inclusionary figure who travels wide in cultivating his ideas.

Schlanger said the Dutchman, a former mentor to Olympic champions Pieter van den Hoogenband and Inge De Bruin, was a respected figure whose CV spoke volumes.

Verhaeren has replaced Leigh Nugent - sacked following the Stilnox drugs controversy and other athlete behavioural issues at the London Olympics.

Schlanger, in heavy training after rebounding from a rib injury, is optimistic Verhaeren will provide the program with the fresh approach its needs to elevate it.

"It (the program) may not have been lacking, but the addition of it (a fresh approach) could be quite beneficial," she said.

"There's a handful of coaches around the world that have produced multiple international gold medallists and fantastic swimmers, and he's definitely in that category. He's well recognised and well credentialled and he does have a lot to offer."

The 44-year-old's appointment follows Kiwi Robbie Deans and South African Mickey Arthur's mixed tenures as the national rugby and cricket mentors respectively.

Schlanger said: "It would have been nice to have an Australian, but looking outside of our country is where you find new ways to go about things that haven't been thought of in this country in the past. Time will tell how it goes, but I think it's gonna be good."

Schlanger missed the world championships this year due to the rib injury.

The dual relay Olympic gold medallist is now "100%" and eyeing the nationals at Brisbane next April.

On offer at the meet will be team spots for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and 2014 Pan Pacific Championships on the Gold Coast.

Topics:  melanie schlanger

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