“Super Bohl” coach Michael says Olympics is “trying to get a predictable outcome in a very unpredictable environment.”

GOOD MORNING MISSION VIEJO: Australian Dolphins MVP Emma McKeon will practice her morning finals routine in the US in April. Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Michael Bohl is one of Australia’s leading Olympic swim coaches who is priming his troops in what will be a fifth Olympic campaign describing the four-year “Big Dance” as “trying to get a predictable outcome in a very unpredictable environment.”

Michael Bohl sndf Emma McKeon

DOLPHINS SUPER BOHL COACH: Four-time Australian Olympic swim coach Michael Bohl with star pupil Emma McKeon. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

“The Olympics is a very tough environment,” said Bohl, who is running the National backstroke and butterfly camp on the Gold Coast this week for all Olympic aspirants.

“Go back to Rio… things went wrong coming into the meet in terms of air conditioning units falling from the roof, lifts breaking down, having questionable accommodation facilities, all those things can go wrong at an Olympics so I think it’s preparing them for that.

“We know we are not going into the Sheraton Hotel, it’s dorm style accommodation; the meals are very basic, so the ones that adjust to that unpredictable environment are the ones that normally compete and swim very very well over there.

“I guess it’s preparing them for that…there’s a lot of distractions… if you are a bad sleeper…you are going to have trouble over at the Olympics…trying to get them ready for that.

“We have a sports psychologist coming in for the week, trying to teach some relaxation techniques.

“Trying to get them off at night.

“There was a swimmer I had back at the 2012 Olympics coming into the meet he was only getting two to three hours of sleep per night because he was so anxious about having to compete.

“So learning those skills 16-20 weeks out from the Olympics is a really good thing so I think exposing them to those things and just sharing those experiences that I have been lucky enough to have over the four Olympics that I’ve been to will help the group in particular throughout this week….You are trying to get a predictable outcome in a very unpredictable environment.”

His top charge is four-time Olympic medallist from Rio, Australia’s “Most Valuable” Swimmer Emma McKeon, who has joined her coach on the camp at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre.


DREAM BELIEVERS: Dolphins butterfly trio Maddie Groves, Emma McKeon and Brianna Throssell. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

And one of the hottest topics of discussion today centred around “morning finals” which will again be centre stage in Tokyo.

“I haven’t actually looked at the morning and nights and finals in the morning,” admitted McKeon, Australia’s most successful swimmer in Rio and at last year’s World Championship where she won six medals – three of them gold in the relays.

“I know it will be a busy week but I’ve had a lot of practice for that.

“We’re going to the US in April (for the Mission Viejo Meet) and they are doing a morning finals practice, so it will be good to give that a go. I’m not actually much of a morning person even though I wake up so early…but I’m trying to become a morning person.

“At the Olympics, even with morning heats you still have to swim fast. I’m just doing what I can now to practice with that, working on my sleeping and things like that, having naps in the day to replicate doing a heat in the night. It will be hard to juggle but I’m excited for it.

“Having experience is always going to be an advantage. I just learn more about myself every time I go to one of those meets, you just become mentally stronger as well, so you aren’t falling in a heap on day three.

“And just enjoying it more as well… when I look back on the week I don’t want to feel so exhausted and realise I haven’t taken anything in.”

Golden girl Stephanie Rice with her second gold of the Beijing Games.

GOLDEN MORNINGS: The Michael Bohl coached Stephanie Rice – three-time Olympic golden girl from 2008 in Beijing. Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

Bohl reflected on the “morning finals in 2008” saying:” Going into Beijing, it was exactly the same…we have got experience with that..the Beijing format in 2008 was exactly the same…all it’s really doing is shifting the mindset.

“We as coaches try and program more main sets in the morning; traditionally we program main sets in the afternoon, in my own individual program we do one Saturday morning main set so what we are going to do is include a Thursday morning and a Saturday morning (main set) to try ad remedy that.

“It’s like doing a little more extra activation in the morning.

“I know one of the things that we did in Beijing we took the swimmers down to the pool early in the morning before the finals so we went down to the pool at 7am and went back and had breakfast before going back for the finals.

“Its just doing those things and incorporating that in to your home program…to try and get them ready..the big part of it is just the mind set needs to change, because if you are not ready there will be other swimmers there that will be ready to go with that.”

Notify of

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Our community guidelines are simple: be respectful and constructive, keep on topic, and support your fellow commenters. Commenting signifies that you agree to our Terms of Use

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

Good article. Insightful

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x