Swimming World’s 2018 International Coach of the Year: Dean Boxall, Coach of Ariarne Titmus

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Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia

Australia’s Dean Boxall wins Swimming World’s 2018 International Swim Coach of the Year award for his efforts in training distance phenom Ariarne Titmus.

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Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia/Delly Carr

Boxall coaches Titmus, 2015 World Champion Mitch Larkin, 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medalist Clyde Lewis and Pan Pac silver medalist Jack Cartwright at the St. Peters Western Club. He has been at St. Peters Western since 2012 where he served under Olympic coach Michael Bohl until taking over head coaching responsibilities in October 2017.

Titmus burst on to the scene in 2017 when she took down Olympian Jess Ashwood in the 800 free at the Australian World Trials that year. She also clinched a spot on the World Championship team in 2017 in the 400 free and was selected to be a part of the 4×200 free relay team in Budapest.

Not bad for a 16-year-old.

At the World Championships in Budapest, Titmus was fourth in the 400 free, 14th in the 800, and anchored Australia to a bronze medal in the 4×200 free relay.

But in 2018, Titmus really blossomed on the world scene.

At the Commonwealth Games in her home country in April, Titmus won four medals. The 17-year-old won gold medals in the 400 and 800 free, as well as anchoring the winning 4×200 free relay team. Titmus also won a silver in the 200 free behind Canada’s Taylor Ruck.

But the big test of the year came four months later in Tokyo, Japan. Without the luxury of competing in front of her home fans, and with added pressure of having to race American superstar Katie Ledecky, Titmus stepped up in a huge way.

Titmus scored best times in both the 800 and 400 free, swimming an 8:17.07 in the 800 for the silver medal and a new Oceania record, and scorching a 3:59.66 in the 400 free, breaking the Oceania record again.

In the 400, Titmus became the third woman to break four minutes in the event as she was the first Australian to do so. She also got closer to the seemingly invincible Ledecky than any swimmer has ever gotten. She was at her feet the entire duration of the race, and finished just 1.16 seconds back of Ledecky.

In short course, Titmus won two gold medals at the World Short Course Championships in Hangzhou, China, breaking the world record in the 400 free and winning the 200 free as well. She is the first Australian woman to hold the world record in the 400 free in short course meters, and the first to hold it in general since Tracey Wickham broke the long course record in 1978.

Thanks to Boxall, Titmus is now Australia’s best distance swimmer and one of the faces of Swimming Australia moving forward to the 2019 World Championships and 2020 Olympic Games. Australia has not had a medalist at the Olympics in a women’s distance event since Hayley Lewis won silver in the 800 and bronze in the 400 in 1992, so Titmus is providing some good light for the Australians.

Boxall also coaches rising stars Clyde Lewis and Jack Cartwright at St. Peters Western. Lewis, who just turned 21 in September, won the 400 IM at the Commonwealth Games in April at 4:13.12. It was Australia’s first gold medal in the event since 2002. Lewis also won a bronze in the 200 IM at the Commonwealth Games.

Australia does not have a rich history in the IM races on the men’s side, having won only one medal at the Olympics with Rob Woodhouse winning bronze in 1984. So for Australia to have a man knocking on the door of the top eight in the world in that event is something promising moving forward.

Lewis teamed up with St. Peters Western teammate Cartwright in the 4×200 free relay at Pan Pacs to give the Americans all they could handle. Lewis led off the Aussies with a 1:46.54 to give the momentum to Kyle Chalmers, who extended the lead. Chalmers passed the baton to Alexander Graham, who passed it to Cartwright.

Cartwright, who just turned 20 in September, held his own with a 1:45.52 on the anchor leg, the fastest of any of the Australians. He was ultimately run down by Townley Haas, who split one of the fastest times ever at 1:43.78, but Cartwright proved he is on the right path to future stardom.

Cartwright also had a solid Pan Pac meet with three silver medals. He was second in both free relays and won a silver in the stacked 100 free final behind fellow Aussie Chalmers. Cartwright swam a 48.22 for his best time as he tied for second with American Caeleb Dressel. Again, Cartwright just turned 20, so he has plenty of room to grow, as does Lewis and Titmus, who are rapidly gaining momentum into 2019.

St. Peters Western was one of Australia’s premiere training locations that was built up by Olympic coach Michael Bohl, and with Boxall now running the show, he has not skipped a beat.

And moving forward to 2020, he has a solid young core of athletes that could be standing on the podium for Australia at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Previous International Swim Coaches of the Year:

  • 2017: Johan Wallberg, coach of Sarah Sjostrom
  • 2016: Carl Jenner, coach of Sjostrom
  • 2014: Melanie Marshall, coach of Adam Peaty

5 comments

  1. Lin Tozer

    Xavier Hill good news for Cljb and coach. Did you work with him too???

    • Xavier Hill

      Lin Tozer yeah, Dean is head coach at SPW

  2. DeAnne Hemmens

    Sally O’Brien you know him right🤣💕❤️❤️❤️