Reputable Danish club coach Ejnar Larsen announced this week that he will quit at the end of this season, opting for a job outside the sport of swimming. He coached Lotte Friis in her developing years, and now again formally as the coach of the club Herlev that she competes for at national meets, though not with any practical implications for her with him leaving, as she now does all of her training at the National Training Center in Bellahøj. Via www.simma.nu/dk
After 20 years of coaching, with the Europeans, Olympics and Worlds on his resumé, and without really wanting to stir things up or sound as ‘a baby who’s lost its pacifier’, he makes the disturbing farewell observation that there is a ‘glass roof’ in Danish swimming, limiting the ambitious coaches’ possibilities on the international field, now with most of the Danish elite concentrated at the National Training Center.
Danish swimming has seen arguments like these turn into all-encompassing crises at least twice, widely discussed in Danish media as the ‘swim crises 1 and 2’. Back in 2000 it ended with both the national head coach and junior national coach resigning, and then again in 2010 it heated up, with the discussion turning more towards the National Training Center versus ambitious clubs.
Reputable coach Flemming Poulsen left then in 2010 with a public criticism of the system, and Ejnar Larsen seems now to back this up, saying that the concentration of Danish talents at the National Training Center takes away the motivation from ambitious club coaches.
“The development of both swimmer and coach is a symbiosis in which the main motivation for a coach is to follow the joint project to completion. The current structure is certainly beneficial for the swimmers, who swim better than ever, but the prospects are hard to spot for club coaches.”
Danish swim site www.simma.nu/dk is predicting rather disturbingly that at least 10 Danish full-time (elite) coaches will quit or be fired this spring, which is a big number for a small country like Denmark. Last news on this prediction is that the number has been met, and that it might have to be increased.
Read Politiken (if you can, it is in Danish)