Speculation over the past several months has transitioned into confirmed fact, as storied Australian swimming coach Michael Bohl is indeed moving from St. Peters western in Brisbane to the new high performance center at Griffith University at the Gold Coast, per The Australian.
Back in February, Swimming Australia launched its Tokyo 2020 plan, which included the reduction of its high performance centers from 14 to 9. One of those facilities cut from the funded list was St. Peters Western, while an entirely new facility, Griffith University, was included. Many in the swimming community read this to mean that Bohl would indeed be uprooting to Griffith to head up that fresh new program. At the time, Swimming Australia would only say that Griffith University was “in negotiation with a highly qualified coach to take on the role of high-performance coach and help grow this program from the ground up’’.
Having coached at St. Peters for 14 years, Bohl’s most successful athletes include multiple Olympic medalist Stephanie Rice (retired), 2016 Olympic silver medalist Maddie Groves and the most decorated Aussie woman at a World Championships, Emma McKeon. Both Groves and McKeon, along with David McKeon, Grant Irvine and Dan Smith, are reportedly relocating to Griffith with Bohl.
Dean Boxall, St. Peters’ junior leader, will serve as interim head coach while the organization undergoes its formal replacement search. However, with Boxall carrying such budding talent as Ariarne Titmus, Clyde Lewis and Jack Cartwright on his resume, he may wind up being the top choice to step into Bohl’s shoes.
Of his moving to the Gold Coast, Bohl told The Australian, “It’s a bit like having a death in the family when you have worked so closely with an organisation for 14 years.
“But it’s a pretty good opportunity at Griffith. It’s a very good facility, with good support from the university and Swimming Australia and small numbers, so everything is bundled together.’’