‘Tis the season to be announcing…coaches that is. In the run-up to the 2011 Shanghai World Championships and 2012 London Olympics, this month’s beginning of the international long course season is the last good opportunity for swimmers to make changes prior to the Olympics without disrupting training. Among the ones we’ve seen so far are Sean Hutchison leaving FAST, and Italian superstar Federica Pellegrini choosing French coach Felippe Lucas to lead her training. Among announcements we’re still waiting for is whether or not Cesar Cielo will return to Auburn to work with Brett Hawke or stay in Brazil, which led him to success in Dubai.
Korean freestyler Park Tae-Hwan, who recently won David Rieder’s mythical 2010 National Championship in both the 200 and 400 freestyles, is one swimmer who will be staying put. According to the Korean Times, Park finalized his commitment to train with Australian coach Michael Bohl (who also trains such elite middle-distance swimmers as Stephanie Rice and Ryan Napoleon) through at least the London Games. Bohl has really hit a spark with the 21-year old, including a huge 100-200-400 freestyle triple at the 2010 Asian Games. This was following a bit of a slumping performance at the 2009 World Championships after travelling to different training stops, including one in Southern California with coach Dave Salo.
Bohl is the 2008 Australian Coach of the Year, and works out of the St. Peters Western Swim Club in the suburbs of Brisbane. Besides Rice and Napoleon, he also works with Australian National Team athletes Yolane Kukla, Meagan Nay, and Leith Brodie.
As a part of the agreement, Bohl has been given a raise, though exact terms were not released. Park, who is a sporting icon in his native South Korea, has become one of the richest swimmers in the world through his sponsorship agreements.