Taylor and Sheppard to lead into Paris

23 August 2021

Following Australia’s most successful Olympic swimming campaign, Swimming Australia has confirmed the re-appointment of National Head Coach Rohan Taylor through to December 2024.

The Dolphins Swim team returned from Tokyo with 21 medals, including nine gold – the biggest haul since Athens in 2004.

Taylor temporarily took over the reins of the team following the departure of previous Head Coach Jacco Verhaeren in June 2020, who returned to his home country of the Netherlands for family reasons.

Previously State Head Coach (Victoria and Tasmania) for Swimming Australia, Taylor built and strengthened key relationships within the team, in an additional role as Coach Leader on numerous campaigns, giving him the perfect platform and allowing for a seamless transition to take over as Head Coach, after Verhaeren departed.

Taylor will be joined in leading the Olympic program with Tamara Sheppard, who has been appointed as High Performance Director, with both roles reporting directly into the CEO.

Taylor said he was thrilled to take on the role to see the team through to Paris 2024.

“I am so incredibly proud of what we achieved in Tokyo – athletes, coaches and staff included – and the great environment we have built in this team over the past few years,” he said.

“With a shorter cycle to Paris now, I look forward to continuing the work with our coaches and athlete leaders to build on this success and maintaining the fantastic culture we have created.”


Rohan Taylor and Tamara Sheppard

Sheppard will be responsible for overseeing the strategic direction of high performance, including performance support and innovation, pathway development and Paralympic swimming.

Sheppard, who was previously General Manager High Performance and also Team Leader in Tokyo, said she looked forward to leading the high performance arm of the sport.

“Being a part of the leadership team in Tokyo was incredibly special and I felt very privileged to be able to witness the success of the team, achieved through the hard work of all the athletes and coaches,” she said.

“I know we have a world-leading high performance program and I look forward to working with our staff and coaches to continue to build on the success of Tokyo.”

Swimming Australia Chief Executive Alex Baumann said the appointments of Taylor and Sheppard will set the team up strongly heading into Paris.

“Rohan has done an outstanding job leading this team through the challenges of COVID and creating an environment where athletes and coaches are able to thrive,” he said.

“The Board and I are fully supportive of re-contracting Rohan through to Paris following our most successful Olympic campaign ever.

“In the last 18 months, Tamara has shown great leadership in challenging times and stepping up into the role of High Performance Director is a natural progression for her and extremely well deserved.

“I have no doubt she will work tirelessly to continue to build on our world-leading environment for athletes and coaches to succeed.”

Taylor and Sheppard will begin their roles effective immediately.

The Dolphins Paralympic campaign kicks off on Wednesday in Tokyo, to keep up to date following along with @dolphinsaus on all social media platforms. Heats start at 10:00am AEST, with finals kicking off at 6:00pm AEST

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