Aussie Dean Boxall Named Swimming World International Coach of the Year

Dean Boxall and Ariarne Titmus

Aussie Dean Boxall Named Swimming World International Coach of the Year

It was a moment in Olympic history to savor when Ariarne Titmus dethroned the queen of the pool Katie Ledecky in the 400-meter freestyle, and her Australian coach Dean Boxall made sure it was a celebration of Olympic proportions. It was one of THE golden moments of a 2020 Games in Tokyo and a coaching feat that has earned Boxall Swimming World’s International Coach of the Year Award.

The victory by Titmus was something to be cherished forever and a year of pent-up emotion, and Boxall wasn’t going to let it pass without letting it all hang out. It’s not every day, after pouring your life into your chosen field, that it all comes to fruition on sport’s biggest stage, particularly with Titmus managing a shoulder injury that threatened to derail her Olympic preparations.

Boxall, 42, the eccentric, passionate coach, born in South Africa, arrived in Australia with his family at the age of seven and he has been in the fast lane as a swimmer and a coach ever since. Plying his trade under coaches like Olympic gold medal coach Michael Bohl, the hours, days and years of blood, sweat and tears, rainy day sessions and sacrifices all came to fruition for Boxall on a magical night at the Tokyo Olympic Aquatic Centre.

A special swimmer-coach relationship surfaced between Titmus and Boxall, built on absolute dedication and trust. That’s why this partnership has developed that Midas touch. Few can argue this 400 freestyle showdown between Titmus and Ledecky was one of the most-anticipated duels in the pool that captivated the world.

The reigning Olympic champion in Ledecky against the world champion in Titmus, who was aiming to be the first Australian to win the 400 freestyle since Shane Gould in Munich in 1972. Titmus trailed Ledecky for the first 300 meters of the race, before pouncing in the final 100 metres to win by .67 seconds.

Boxall unleashed a wild celebration, bringing back memories of great Australian coach Laurie Lawrence, when his super-charged Duncan Armstrong won the Olympic 200 freestyle gold in Seoul in 1988. Boxall screamed in in joy, flung his long blonde hair around, grabbed hold of the top of a barrier at the top of the grandstand, shook it like professional wrestling legend and his childhood hero the Ultimate Warrior and leaned back with his hips forward before punching the air wildly.

“It built up,” Boxall said in a post-race interview. “When I saw the race unfolding, I couldn’t keep it in. We had a race plan and the funny thing is, in this situation and under that amount of pressure, Arnie executed it to perfection. So when I saw it starting to build, I thought, ‘Here we go.’ I thought, ‘She can do this.’ It’s unbelievable to execute that under pressure.”

But then there was the most touching moment when Boxall greeted “Arnie” after her gold medal presentation on pool deck with tears flowing, the pair knowing in their hearts and souls just what it took to climb swimming’s greatest mountain. Little did Boxall know when this slip of a kid they call “Arnie” walked into his program at Brisbane’s St Peters Western Lutheran College that it would result in Olympic gold.

In an interview with Swimming World, leading into the Olympics, Titmus and Boxall spoke about a relationship that has brought out the best in swimmer-coach.

“We just kinda click…there are things we do bicker about but we do try to be on the same page and with the same goals and that’s why it works…I have to put trust in Dean, “said Titmus.

And Boxall chimed in with: “That’s why I think it works…I love the sport and I know ‘Arnie’ loves the sport….she loves the training, she loves racing and every aspect of swimming as I do. She trusts that I will create and provide her with the best environment and training program and trust that she will execute it to the….absolute last Nth of her fiber….And she’s going to need that!”

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4 months ago

Does anyone know when the report of the all-female independent commission investigating Australia Swimming will be released?

Ana Maria
4 months ago

Happy New Year!! I Will like to swim in Florida Miami to train for the World Master in Japón. We are from Perú.