In these first days in the new environment, Dirk Lange sometimes runs astray at the Hesse Olympic base.

But the 58-year-old trainer doesn't want to lose much time in the swimming pool to steer the athletes of the SG Frankfurt (SGF) in the right direction.

At the weekend, the new head coach at Hessen took over the direction.

His commitment is associated with very high expectations.

The native of Hamburg has led six athletes to world championship titles during his career to date, four of whom have won Olympic medals under him. Lange's dream of every coach came true in 2012 when the South African Cameron van der Burgh took gold at the games in London over 100 meters chest with a new world record.

So now, after many years abroad, he is returning to Germany, where Lange was not without controversy as national coach from 2008 to 2011.

"I decided a year ago to give my experience back to German swimming," he says.

Not knowing at the time that his seminar offer would be followed by a move back home so quickly.

Most recently, the experienced specialist was the head coach of the Styrian performance center in Graz, Austria.

His contract was terminated at the beginning of the year because, as the person responsible for top-class sport, he did not consider it sensible to drive through the country several times a week to see talent.

A top club that dominates the scene

On the Main, in the well-functioning system of the SGF, not only is the work for the youngsters relieved of him; With the support of Volker Kemmerer, who works as a teacher trainer at the Carl von Weinberg School, Lange can focus day and night on the training of around 20 top athletes. The fact that his family, his wife and his two sons will stay in Styria in one and a half years until the younger William has graduated and that he himself will live in a room in the “House of Athletes” in the immediate vicinity of the swimming pool makes his job easier, as he does says.

“I want to do a really big thing again,” says Lange. Frankfurt, according to the vision he shares with SGF sports director Michael Ulmer, should become a lighthouse in the country, a top club that dominates the scene, sets trends and creates a pull. "I want to build up what we once had with SG Hamburg." The former national swimmer began his coaching career in the Hanseatic city in 1992 and later achieved outstanding successes with the Olympic champions Sandra Völker and Therese Alshammar and world record holder Mark Foster.

Lange relies on individuality and internationality. He thinks little of general training plans. "A trainer has to feel how his athlete is feeling when he comes in." Whether he needs to be motivated, spared or challenged on this day. Every athlete should be developed according to his own needs. Different nationalities and backgrounds should bring additional impulses into the training group and provide "drive". Lange brings the first newcomers with him: the Austrian Caroline Pilhatsch, the Algerian Oussama Sahnoune and the Hungarian Liliána Szilágyi strengthen the Frankfurt selection and should show their new teammates what it means to be a professional.

Freestyle sprinter Sahnoune is exemplary with his physique alone.

"In Germany, many things that are international standards are not processed optimally," says Lange.

In comparison with the leading nations on the relay-relevant routes, there are clear differences in physical terms.

Strong gymnastic training and intensive strength training are compulsory for the former trainer and advisor to the national teams of South Africa, Mexico, China or Croatia.

“I believe in personal fitness,” says Lange.

"A lot and hard, but not effective"

In addition, there are deficits in this country in terms of speed.

In his opinion, even long distance runners should have “a certain degree of speed flexibility” that allows them not only to implement their own racing plan, but also to follow that of others.

In training you have to lead the swimmers again and again into the "red, unpleasant areas".

"The Germans train a lot and hard, but maybe not effectively," says Lange.

A lot of data is collected and the training performance is given as a number of kilometers.

But apart from the long distances, this is not relevant, "nobody has won a medal because they swam a few meters more".

He did not want his statements to be understood as criticism of his colleague.

"I just want to implement my own ideas here in Frankfurt."

They now have three months to get to know each other and to consolidate the cooperation. "Then there are still two and a half years until the next Olympic Games." In the end, he and his athletes will be measured by their success. Then you will know whether they were on the right track.

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