Aussie connection to grow stronger

Updated: 2012-12-28 19:07

By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily)

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China's swimming bosses are intent on sending the nation's best abroad for specialized training.

According to team leader, Xu Qi, relations between the Chinese association and Swimming Australia remain close despite rumors that the Aussies' governing body would ban coaches Denis Cotterell and Ken Wood from instructing Chinese swimmers.

Xu attributed China's record medal haul in London to training Down Under and said he expected the relationship to grow even stronger.

"It's the payoff of four years of work since 2008 and can be attributed to the foreign coaching to a certain extent," Xu said. "The cooperation has proven to be a boost for Chinese swimming and we will discuss how to move forward."

Xu said a group of elite swimmers and support crews would return to Australia for training at the end of the month, and the BHP Aquatic Super Series, a three-nation meet featuring China, Australia and South Africa will be held in Perth from Jan 18-20.

Meanwhile, the Liaoning provincial squad will send a 23-member contingent to train with Australian coach Stephan Widmer — the man behind Olympic gold medalists Leisel Jones, Kylie Palmer and Libby Trickett — for six weeks at a local club in Phuket, Thailand, at the end of January.

China launched its Australian program in 2007 when it sent freestyle specialist Zhang Lin to practice with Cotterell in Queensland. The 25-year-old won the 800m gold at the Rome Worlds two years later.

Sun Yang worked under Cotterell's guidance in early 2010 and improved his stroke on the way to claiming the 1,500m free title at the Shanghai Worlds last year.

Wood helped Ye Shiwen improve her stroke efficiency, starting and turning last year.