Coaching Switch For Mack Horton Who Announces A Move To Queensland Super Coach Michael Bohl

CHANGING COACHES: Mack Horton high fives Michael Bohl, the man who will become his new coach after winning gold in the 400m freestyle at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Coaching Switch For Mack Horton Who Announces Move To Queensland Super Coach Michael Bohl

Rio Olympic gold medallist Mack Horton is hoping a change will be as good as a holiday with today’s shock announcement he is leaving his native Melbourne to re-ignite his career for Paris 2024 under master coach Michael Bohl on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

That’s if he can escape the COVID clutches of the longest lockdown city in the world.

The 25-year-old has been somewhat in swimming’s backblocks since his drama-charged podium protest against disgraced Chinese star Sun Yang at the World Championships in Gwangju in 2019.

Michael Bohl on deck alone

SMOOTH OPERATOR: Mack Horton will be hoping for a smooth transition to the Gold Coast under new coach Michael Bohl. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Horton admits a change was well and truly on his mind as the Games wound up in Tokyo, where Horton’s only swim came in the heats of Australia’s bronze medal-winning 4x200m freestyle relay.

The defending Olympic champion finished a bravely swum third in the 400m freestyle behind Elijah Winnington and eventual Tokyo silver medallist Jack McLoughlin at the Australian Trials – missing the chance to defend his crown – later qualifying as a relay alternate,

Horton will leave long-standing coach Craig Jackson at the Melbourne Sports And Aquatic Centre and will link up with gold medal coach Bohl at the Griffith University – home of seven-time Tokyo medallist, Emma McKeon – now Australia’s greatest Olympic medallist with 11 medals.

Horton spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald, saying: “I’ve been with Craig for 12 or 13 years, it’s all I’ve known really. I’m 25 now, I’ll be 28 in Paris. That could be it, who knows. But if I’ve only got three years left I want to try something new,” Horton said. “It’s part of, unfortunately, Victoria slowly wearing away at people with COVID and lockdowns.”

And Horton’s move has been anything but smooth as he bides his time in a city that has been in lockdown for a record 250 days – the longest of any city in the world.

Horton applied for a border pass to re-locate from Victoria to Queensland a month ago but has heard nothing as the Tokyo team slowly but surely get back into work for the coming Australian summer competitions in the lead up to next year’s World Championships and Commonwealth Games.

“(Two-weeks) Quarantine (on return from The Games) brings on a lot of reflecting,” Horton told the paper’s Olympics correspondent Phil Lutton.

“It was just something that had been building over the last couple of months. It felt like a few people knew before I did, I didn’t consciously make the decision until quite late.


ALL EARS: Mack Horton listens intently to Swimming Australia sports science guru Jess Corones. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

“The people around me were sensing there was going to be a change. It had been going on in the background for a bit.”

Horton has worked with Bohl in the past and didn’t hesitate when deciding on his next move beyond his beloved Melbourne. He will start afresh with a new program as he puts the building blocks in place for what he hopes to be a triumphant return to the Olympic pool.

“Michael looked after me in Tokyo and Gwangju. It’s different, I was still doing Craig’s work, so this will be a different experience. This is a full move,” Horton said.

“I think it was a no-brainer for me. He’s just someone I get along with well, easy to relate to. His personality is quite similar to Craig, quiet and chilled. I need that, I don’t need yelling and shouting

“Our squad in Melbourne is about eight people, they have about 20 up there. I’m looking forward to more people and more energy.”

When asked whether he could find the kind of mojo that drove him to a stirring win in an unforgettable battle in the Rio pool, Horton said: “I bloody hope so. It’s just about getting it out of me. I’m hungrier than ever.”

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7 months ago

If he wants to get into Queensland ASAP he should date an NRL player .. just saying