Rohan Taylor will take over as Australia's swimming head coach for the Tokyo Olympics after Jacco Verhaeren announced he will return home to The Netherlands due to personal reasons.
Verhaeren had been set to cut ties with Swimming Australia after his contract expired following the 2020 Tokyo Games.
But after the Olympics were postponed until 2021 due to coronavirus, Verhaeren said he had made the tough decision to depart in September with his family.
Taylor, the former coach of three-time Olympic gold medallist Leisel Jones, takes over the top job for 12 months before Swimming Australia launches a search for a full-time replacement.
Verhaeren, who worked with the Dutch national team coaching the likes of Olympic champions Pieter van den Hoogenband and Inge de Bruijn, revitalised Australian swimming after being hired as Dolphins head coach in late 2013.
He took over after a "toxic" 2012 London Olympic campaign where Australia won just one gold - their worst medal tally in a Games pool for 20 years.
He took steps to not only change the Dolphins' team culture but their structure, including shifting selection trials closer to major meets, a tactic that had proved successful for the world leading United States.
Verhaeren said he was tempted to extend his contract until the 2021 Tokyo Games despite making the decision to relocate with his family to Europe but believed it would have been a "selfish" move.
"It (Europe move) is more about having two teenage boys that will go back to school in The Netherlands, that was always the plan," he said.
"What wasn't the plan was the Olympics next year.
"I definitely tried to look at a way to extend this contract, we spoke about different scenarios, but this role requires full attention, not having a coach who has family interests overseas.
"It would have been a selfish choice to say I would travel back and forth - that is not the way it works here."
Verhaeren backed his successor Taylor, who he will help transition into the Dolphins top job over his remaining time in Australia.
Taylor - currently state head coach for Victoria and Tasmania - has worked under Verhaeren in a number of campaigns as the Dolphins team's coach leader.
Swimming Australia CEO Leigh Russell said on Wednesday Taylor would be considered for the full-time gig after Tokyo if he was interested.
Taylor was unsure whether he wanted the reins long term.
"It comes down to being an audition. The focus is this (Tokyo) campaign," Taylor said.
"I think at that time (after Tokyo) I will make a decision. I could get to the end of this and say 'that will do me' or I might be really excited and want to take it on - I will let it play out."
Swimming Australia president John Bertrand said Verhaeren would leave with their blessing after taking the sport in the country to a "new level".
Under Verhaeren, Australia reclaimed their world No.2 spot with three gold at the Rio Olympics and runners-up finishes at the 2015 and 2019 world titles.
Australian Associated Press