2019 Australian Coach of the Year: Dean Boxall, St. Peters Western
2019 was not an easy year for Dean Boxall and the elite training group at St. Peters Western. In addition to all of the challenges that a coach of a group as elite as Brisbane Grammar has to deal with, in 2019 Boxall spent much of his year trying to explain his position on one of the most high-profile doping cases in Australian swimming history, that of Shayna Jack, as well as dealing with anonymous allegations of bullying within the club.
And through it all, Boxall’s club performed at the highest levels of the sport. The headliner is Ariarne Titmus, who won 3 medals individually, and a 4th as part of a relay, at the 2019 World Championships. That included a gold medal in the 400 free in 3:58.76: which makes her the 2nd-best performer in history and beat Katie Ledecky, who only loses on the international stage in the rarest of circumstances.
Also among Boxall’s charge is Clyde Lewis, who after some groin injuries that pushed him to shift his focus from the IM races to freestyles, hit his stride this summer. While he was only 7th in the final of the 200 free, his 1:44.90 in the semi-finals was the fastest time overall at the World Championships.
Boxall’s charge Mitch Larkin also earned a medal at Worlds, taking bronze in the 100 back, while Lewis won bronze as part of Australia’s 400 free relay and gold as part of Australia’s 800 free relay. Larkin added another gold as a finals swimmer on the mixed 400 medley relay, while Lewis added silver on the mixed 400 free relay.
It wasn’t a perfect year for Boxall and his squad, but it was still the most successful one at the international level for Australia.
- David Lush & Chris Mooney – Lost among the Regan Smith hysteria at the World Championships was a pair of breakthrough performances by young Australian backstrokers. Minna Atherton, coached by Lush at Brisbane Grammar, took silver in the 100 backstroke in 58.85. She went on to be one of the top swimmers in the inaugural season of the International Swimming League, which included breaking the 50, 100, and 200 meter backstroke Australian Records, as well as the World Record in the 100 back (54.89). Kaylee McKeown, an 18-year old who trains for Mooney, took silver in the 200 backstroke, behind Smith’s World Record, in 2:06.26. Without the country’s historic torch-bearer in the backstroke group, Emily Seebohm, on the roster, Australia still managed a pair of backstroke medals thanks to these two swimmers.
- Adam Kable – It would be remiss to omit the coach of a swimmer who ties a long course World Record from the honorable mentions. Kable, at the New South Wales Institute of Sport, doesn’t have quite the same international pedigree as the names above, is responsible for most of the elite development of Matthew Wilson. Wilson, who is now 21-years old, moved to Kable’s Sydney-based group at age 14 when his coach retired, and over the last 7 years has progressed perfectly to the top of the breaststroke world. This summer, he tied the World Record in the 200 breaststroke in 2:06.67. He added .01 seconds in final and took silver as Russia’s Anton Chupkov took another half-a-second off the World Record for gold. Wilson is peaking at a prime moment for the Tokyo Olympics.
- 2015 – Simon Cusack
- 2016 – Peter Bishop
- 2017 – Simon Cusack
- 2018 – Dean Boxall