Dean Boxall and Ariarne Titmus team up again for the 2022 Australian Swimming Championships. Are they the best duo in the sport?

The golden girl of Australian swimming thinks she has the best coach in the sport.

In fact, Ariarne Titmus thinks Dean Boxall is the best coach in any sport.

You may remember that Boxall completely blew his stack at the Tokyo Olympics when Titmus edged out the legendary Katie Ledecky to win gold in the 400m freestyle.

As well as being excellent meme food, Boxall is something of a swimming swami.

Just ask Titmus.

“I really can’t speak for anyone else, but I think my relationship with Dean is probably the best athlete-coach bond you can have,” Titmus told ABC.

“I feel like we’re best friends plus he’s also my coach, which is really good.

“As you know, when we’re in the pool, it’s a coach/athlete, and then we’re best friends, which I think works really well for us.”

Dean Boxall training his St Peters Western squad. (ABC News: Jessica Stewart)

Titmus and Boxall now have their sights set on the 2022 Australian Swimming Championships, which starts tomorrow in Adelaide, and it’s clear the 21-year-old superstar just wants one man in her corner.

“He is a unique person, there is no one else like him, so I think when we work very well together.

“I’m not going to have another relationship like that with anyone else, so I’m very grateful to have met Dean and to work with him and have him by my side.”

Bond forged over time

Dean Boxall comforts a crying Ariarne TItmus.  A gold medal is around her neck.
Ariarne Titmus and her trainer Dean Boxall react to her gold medal-winning performance.(Getty Images: Clive Rose)

The laconic Boxall is a little less effusive than his swimmer, but he clearly puts his athletes, his dreams, his success, his well-being, above all else.

When Titmus is told that he thinks they are the best athlete-coach duo in the sport, the 45-year-old has a wry smile.

“Arnie might need to check out other sports. I think Rafael and Toni were pretty good. I mean, we have a really good relationship,” he says, glancing at his knowledge of tennis.

But he points out that the bond that was forged between him and Titmus didn’t happen overnight.

“That [closeness] That’s why I can push her and she’s not offended by any of it.

“But, you know, it’s something that has developed, it wasn’t just a snap of the fingers.

“You have to have a lot of confidence. That also comes with a lot of responsibility.

“I mean, she’s a great girl, but I have a great relationship with most of the guys on the team, and you have to build that.

“There are a lot of dreams at stake. So you have to dream about them.”

‘I don’t read textbooks, I read my athletes’

A blond man in a yellow shirt applauds
Australia’s coach Dean Boxall applauds Ariarne Titmus after her gold medal run.(Getty Images: Davis Ramos)

Any swimmer or coach who watched Titmus’s brilliantly executed swim to topple Ledecky in Tokyo would realize how much thought and planning, not to mention hard work, would have gone into achieving that moment.

But Boxall’s undoubted tactical genius did not come from a book or a course.

“I don’t go and read textbooks, I read my athletes,” he says.

“I read the event. I read the competitors. And I will try to create something.

“I don’t take courses. I just read my boys and the sport that exists. I don’t think it’s a secret.”

Ariarne Titmus in the pool smiling.
Ariarne Titmus chatting with her trainer Dean Boxall. (ABC News: Jessica Stewart)

Boxall enjoys working as a coach for the Western Swim Club of St Peter for major events such as these national championships.

Some of his other charges include Elijah Winnington, Shayna Jack and Molly O’Callaghan, and Boxall says he has a unique relationship with each of them.

“Some people think it’s a job. It’s not a job.

“A job is you get up and you’re like, ‘Oh, I have Mondayitis.’

“I think they are a great group. I believe in them. They believe in me.

“They believe in St Peters Western. They can’t wait to represent Australia. I love representing Australia, I think it’s the best thing you can do.”

‘That’ moment at the Olympics

Dean Boxall is seen grabbing onto the stadium barriers and sticking his head up in the air at the Tokyo Aquatic Center.
The stadium barriers took the brunt of Dean Boxall’s momentous celebration. (Supplied: Channel Seven)

Boxall says the Olympics were “weird.”

It describes the strange feeling of climbing the mountain that is the Olympics and then coming home through COVID isolation and moving on to the next part of the season.

Aware , updated

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