Michael Bohl Uproots From St. Peters Western To Head Up Griffith

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.’’

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It would be interesting to have more details about The Griffith set up. Is it just going to be a HP squad?


It seems odd to have cut the funding of the SPW programme when they seem to have consistently put the most (or amongst the most) swimmers on any national team for the past at least 8 years. Presumably this was all sorted in advance?


It would have to do with lane space and facilities. SPW have 50 in their National age group program. At times the HP squad training in 2 lanes because of the schedule clash with the age squad + no gym on site.


This is why swimming in Australia is failing, narrowing funding and cutting programs. We have too many great coaches, too many great facilities and too many potential superstars to only target 9 programs nationwide. We pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to a head coach, and I still don’t understand exactly what his role is when I see how successful the Americans are and the way select their team coaches. The more kids we get into the sport and develop the better the top end will be yet both the national and state swimming bodies are all cut, cut, cut.

About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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