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Warnatzsch Back After 6-Week Retirement

Sep 24, 2012  - Craig Lord

Norbert Warnatzsch's retirement didn't last long: the Berlin Neukolln coach, who left the stage in August lamenting the performances of Britta Steffen and others who made London 2012 the first Games since 1932 at which Germany won no medals in the pool, is back.

Steffen, Olympic champion in 2008 over 50m and 100m freestyle, announced at the start of the month that she would carry on until a home European Championships in Berlin in 2014. Warnatsch now says he will be on the deck to guide here and her Berlin teammates, partly in an attempt to restore the pride lost in the disappointment of their 2012 campaign.

"My motivation is to see the job through with my group. I want to leave with better results in the bag than those we had at the 2012 Olympic Games," the coach told the spa agency. He expressed his "immeasurable disappointment" with German results.

Steffen failed to make the 100m final and finished fourth in the 50m. She will focus on the dash for Berlin 2014 as Germany hopes to see history repeat itself: last time Berlin hosted the continental long-course event, in 2002, the hosts dominated, with the likes of Franziska Van Almsick born again under Warnatzsch's watch in Berlin and back to world-record breaking pace over 200m freestyle. 

For Germany to get back to that level within the next two years when faced with an altered European swimming map, France at the helm, will take a huge shift.

Beside Steffen, Warnatzsch will guide Tim Wall Burger, Tom Siara and Lisa Graf, who is leaving Leipzig for Berlin.

Steffen, meanwhile, gets her new season underway in uncharacteristic fashion: she will actually race, regularly, against international rivals on the world cup series - all rounds, starting in Dubai on October 2-3 and including the home round in Berlin on October 20-21.

In his DDR days, Warnatzsch coached swimmers who were among the count of those whose careers were marked by State Plan 14:25 systematic doping. His charges included Moscow 1980 100m freestyle Olympic champion and 1982 world champion Jörg Woithe.