Lange Leaves South Africa
The troubles at the tip of the Dark Continent continue as German coach opts out; Lange will cooperate with inquiry; SA federation says head coach will be 'sorely missed'

The South African swim federation today issued the following statement:

Swimming SA head coach Dirk Lange will not be entering into contract renewal negotiations with the national federation, after a four-year stay in the head coach post.

“I am extremely grateful to Swimming SA for the confidence shown in me over the past four years and wish the national federation, its swimmers, coaches and officials all the best for the future,” said Lange.

Lange added that he will co-operate fully with the investigation team led by Advocate Norman Arendse.

Swimming SA President Jace Naidoo thanked Lange for his contribution to the sport and said that his knowledge and commitment will be sorely missed.

“Swimming SA respects Lange’s decision to move on and we wish him all the best for the future,” said Naidoo.

During Lange’s spell as head coach, SA collected two gold medals and a silver medal as well as two bronze medals at the FINA World Championships held in Montreal in 2005.

With Lange in charge, SA collected five gold, two silver and five bronze medals at the Commonwealth Games held in Melbourne, Australia two years ago.

Also in 2006, SA collected three gold medals and a silver at the FINA World Short Course Championships held in Shanghai.

At the FINA World Championships held in Melbourne last year, SA won two gold medals and a bronze.

At the All-Africa Games held in Algeria last year, SA went on a major medal hunt, returning with 25 gold, 17 silver and 11 bronze.

In April this year, Lange was at the helm of a highly successful medal haul by the SA team at the FINA World Short Course Championships held in Manchester, England, with one gold, one silver, and three bronze medals.

At the Olympic Games held in Beijing, SA swimmers set 22 new African records and 24 SA records, with a total of 24 SA swimmers having taken part in the Olympic showpiece event, compared to the seven swimmers that competed for SA at the 2004 Olympics held in Athens.

Further, seven female participants represented SA in swimming events in Beijing, which was a major success story after no SA female swimmers had been able to qualify for the Olympics four years earlier.

In addition, SA qualified to compete in four relay events in Beijing, after only the men’s 4 x 100 metres freestyle team were able to meet the qualifying standard for the 2004 Olympics.