Among the post-Rio coaching, club and location changes that typically accompany the kick-off of a new Olympic quadrennial, Australian silver medalist Mitch Larkin has announced that he is leaving longtime club St. Peters Western.
Within his 7-year tutelage under storied coach Michael Bohl, 23-year-old Larkin has soared to the top of the world in his signature 200m and 100m backstroke events. Larkin took both titles at last year’s FINA World Championships and followed that up with Australian, Oceanic and Commonwealth Records in the events at last November’s FINA World Cup in Dubai.
He was expected to be a major player in both the 100m and 200m backstroke events at the 2016 Olympic Games, where a mega-dual was set to go down between the Aussie and American rival Ryan Murphy. Things didn’t go exactly according to plan, however, as Larkin finished off the podium in the 100m, although he was able to secure silver in the 200m event. Larkin was also a member of the Australian men’s bronze medal-winning 4×100 medley relay.
Larkin points to motivation stimulation as his primary driver in pursuing a coaching and club change, a change which Larkin calls ‘the toughest decision’ of his life.
“In order to keep motivation at its highest along with excitement within the training environment, I’ve decided to look at what other programs along with other coaches can offer over the next Olympic cycle,” Larkin said today.
“Michael has done everything for me in my career and I would not be where I am today or achieved what I have achieved without him,” he said.
“To leave such a great environment with so many amazing athletes has been tough, and also knowing my family has had such a strong bond with the club, – my father is the president -that has not been easy.”
“I am very excited to begin a new stage of my swimming career, however I want to take the time over the next few months to trial programs and find the best fit.” (Yahoo News)
Bohl, who also coaches 2016 Olympians Emma McKeon, Georgia Bohl, Bronte Barratt, Madison Wilson, Madeline Groves and Grant Irvine, said he understood Larkin’s reasoning.
“Mitch had been contemplating his swimming for the next four years towards Tokyo (2020 Olympics) and felt he needed to change programs in order to keep stimulated,” Bohl said in a statement.
It has not yet been released which programs Larkin will be visiting and if any reside outside of the nation of Australia.