Minna Atherton’s Coach David Lush Departs Brisbane Grammar After 12 Successful Years

David Lush with Jacco Verhaeren
TOP GUNS: David Lush is expected to announce his next move this week and pictured here with departing National Head Coach Jacco Verhaeren after winning the 2017 ASCTA Coach Of the Year. Photo Courtesy Steve Holland.

In a shock move, one of Australia’s Rio Olympic Team swim coaches David Lush last night ended his successful 12-year tenure as Director of Swim Coaching with Brisbane Grammar School (BGS) – after taking the program to great heights.

No official announcement has been made regarding Lush’s immediate future other than his own indication to members of the coaching fraternity that there are “a couple of ‘other’ announcements coming soon!”

Lush is expected to enlighten Swimming Australia and The Australian Swimming And Teachers Association (ASCTA) on his next move as early as this coming week.


IN GOOD HANDS: David Lush (second from left) leaves the Brisbane Grammar School in good hands. Photo Courtesy:Brisbane Grammar.

Brisbane Grammar has announced Lush will remain connected with the program. While not on pool deck, the School has said, “David will apply his considerable experience and skills to supporting the Acting Head Coach and the BGS Swimming Club in its strategic direction and administration.”

Lush’s assistant Bobby Jovanovich (pictured right) is the Acting Head Coach (Swimming) while Matt Logan will continue in his GPS program leadership role.

A learned High Performance professional and forward thinker, Lush has established himself as a much sought after coach and whatever his next move may be you can expect his number one charge, Tokyo medal contender Minna Atherton will be with him.


David Lush on deck Photo Courtesy The Australian

WATCH THIS SPACE: Rio Swim Team coach David Lush says there are “a couple of ‘other’ announcements coming soon!” Photo Courtesy: The Australian Newspaper.

Lush, who was named the ASCTA Coach of the Year in 2017, joining a who’s who of Australian coaching, has certainly developed into one of Australian swimming’s shining coaching lights, realising a dream when he was named on the Rio Olympic Team coaching staff.

Through the BGS Swimming Club, Lush has coached some of Australia’s finest elite swimmers in what has also become an Australian High Performance Program – making him one of the most established elite level coaches in the country.

Lush put Emily Seebohm and Brittany Elmslie onto the 2016 Rio team, after taking over as Seebohm’s coach in 2015 when she won double World Championship backstroke gold in Kazan and coaching her to World Championship gold in Budapest in 2017.

Elmslie swam her way into the Olympic annals adding her second gold medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay in Rio before adding individual gold in the 100m freestyle at the World Short Championships in Windsor later that year.

Lush is also the man who discovered and who has molded rising star Atherton into one of the best backstrokers in the world – winning World Championship silver in 2019 in Gwangju and breaking her first world record in the 100m short course at the ISL and who will go to Tokyo next year as one of Australia’s major medal hopes.

In a statement issued last night a humble Lush said he had been proud to contribute to the BGS community.

Foto Fabio Ferrari/LaPresse 21 Dicembre 2019 Las Vegas - USA sport nuoto 2019 ISL - International Swimming League. Nella foto: ATHERTON Minna Photo Fabio Ferrari/LaPresse December 21, 2019 Las Vegas - USA sport swimming 2019 ISL - International Swimming League. In the picture: ATHERTON Minna

STAR PUPIL: David Lush discovery Minna Atherton with that now famous world record moment in the ISL – Photo Courtesy: Fabio Ferrari/LaPresse

“Winning the 2017 GPS Swimming Championships is one of the highlights of my coaching career,” said Lush.

“It was always my intention to create an environment where every BGS boy felt valued, had a sense of purpose and belonging at the pool.

“The BGS Swimming program is the benchmark model for schools across Australia. I am extremely proud of what we have achieved, and I have no doubt Mr Logan and Mr Jovanovich will continue to successfully lead the program.”

Lush was appointed as Director of Swimming in 2008 with the responsibility of delivering an aquatic exercise program for 80 Year 8-12 students for the duration of the GPS school swimming season.

But by 2010 Lush had established the Brisbane Grammar School Swimming Club and by 2014, it had risen to become was one of Australia’s top ranked clubs.

In the prestigious GPS program Brisbane Grammar has finished in the top two schools for the past six years, with two GPS Championships in 2017 and 2018. The 2017 victory ending a 40-year GPS drought.

Lush’s innovations in his role, such as developing he BGS Swimming Health Professional Network almost a decade ago, focusing on enhancing the athletic development and support of BGS swimmers.

In the BGS Swimming Club, Lush has mentored a passionate and experienced team. His team-centred approach has ensured outstanding results in the pool coupled with the development of the well renowned BGS Swimming culture.

David Lush 1

NEXT CHAPTER: After almost 12 years on deck with Brisbane Grammar, David Lush is about to embark on his next chapter. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Lush knew the way to entice his school boys to the pool was through their stomachs.

“After a successful GPS School Swimming season, I needed to quickly think of a way to entice the boys to continue swimming,” Lush had revealed.

“As most boys at this time, historically, would take up another extra-curricular activity, e.g. cricket, volleyball or football. I approached McDonalds, requested 500 Big Mac vouchers, and promised the students one free burger if they turned up to training each week.

“The initiative brought the boys through the door, however it was now about creating a positive and competitive environment, whereby the students would no longer need the extra incentive to bring them back

“After settling in at Brisbane Grammar and implementing a number of favourable initiatives, I submitted a proposal to the school, giving voice to my interest in establishing a swimming club, which was successful and now known as BGS Swimming.

“To grow the club in the first instance, I approached the local State schools, citing the world-class facilities Brisbane Grammar School has to offer, including an indoor 50m and 25m pool as well as a gymnastics hall and fully equipped strength and conditioning gym.

“I was really fortunate in that I effectively managed to identify a couple of good swimmers from those peripheral schools. One was Minna Atherton,

“We also opened the doors to siblings and parents of students who were keen to train. The program gathered momentum as the number of swimmers increased, which resulted in significant growth from 2011-2014.”

Lush revealed that his most challenging aspect had been maintaining the responsibilities of his role as Director of Swimming at Brisbane Grammar School, coupled with everything related to running the BGS Swimming Club, whilst also taking on all of the layers of coaching several world-class athletes.

“All of this was positive, but…very daunting when you hadn’t dealt with it before. I needed to rapidly improve my communication skills, and develop new and efficient ways to utilise the support people around me,” said Lush.

Brisbane Grammar acknowledged Lush’s longstanding contribution to BGS Swimming and the School.



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