Award-winning coach to Libby Lenton and Leisel Jones, Stephan Widmer, has hinted that his two most decorated charges may spend a season sharpening up in the NCAA competition in the USA. The coach said spending a season in the demanding NCAA system may be the spark his world record holders need to better their already “amazing” achievements.
Ian Thorpe is relocating to the US in the Beijing 2008 countdown and Grant Hackett has stated his hopes of competing the NCAA circuit after the Olympics.
Jones has reportedly said she would follow Widmer if he relocated overseas and Widmer himself did not rule out a US trip in the lead-up to Beijing.
“It could be that we select a campus overseas one year,” said Widmer who recently shared Australian Coach of the Year honours with Hackett’s mentor Denis Cotterell. “It’s a great racing circuit in the NCAA. You train hard but every weekend you are up against a university and have to go hard. It provides a great (race) simulation and different environment. More likely we would be challenged by something like that.”
Lenton and Jones will also be part of a 26-strong Australian team to contest the Mare Nostrum meet in Monte Carlo next month, after competing in the Brisbane Grand Prix this weekend.