Aussie Coach Dean Boxall Says It’s Time For Elite Swimmers To Have Pool Access

Top Australian coach Dean Boxall believes it’s time for the country’s top swimmers to have access to facilities amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Boxall, the head coach of the elite training group at St. Peters Western, acknowledges the difficulties of the current situation, but thinks that getting a select few getting back in the pool shouldn’t be a problem.

“I don’t want to be seen as someone who is not in touch with what is happening,” he told AAP. “I get it, people are dying. It is a terrible crisis. But you go to parks and you see stacks of people but we can’t get elite swimmers to swim in a pool.

“We want to get back in the water but we can’t, we are hamstrung. I am not talking about the whole swimming community in Australia returning to pools, just the elite guys.”

Boxall, who coaches reigning world champion Ariarne Titmus, says any extended time out of the water means it will take even longer for the athletes to get back into their daily flow.

“They need to be in the water very soon, like the next two weeks, just to get the body back into a rhythm,” Boxall said. “Usually if you have a month off, it takes you two months to get back into it — it’s normally double.

“If you call it in September it is going to be a struggle. If you call it in July, August, it is still difficult — they need to get back in the water.”

Boxall assures that he will follow whatever guidelines his group is given, as long as it means a return to the pool.

“Of course we want to be in line with government guidelines, so give us heavy, strict protocols and I promise you that we will adhere to them,” he said. “If they told us we can only have one person an hour, or a person in every second lane, if this was the policy put in place we would follow it.”

In addition to Titmus, Boxall’s training squad includes three-time LC World Champion Mitch Larkin, and rising freestyler Clyde Lewis, who won three medals at the 2019 World Championships and was the world’s second-fastest swimmer in the 200 free for 2019.

Prior to the shutdown, Boxall says the group’s training was going very well.

“We were going 100 miles an hour and then it was just bang, stop,” he said. “That was a shock to the system. “Everyone grieved and dealt with it in a different way. But everyone has got through that stage.

“They are now going ‘I see a lot of people doing exercise, maybe we can get back into the water’.”

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3 years ago

Sadly, while you are all arguing amongst yourselves about Australian coach Dean Boxall’s comments. Both China and Russia are still training and nobody is complaining about them. So much for an even level playing field. Let’s not forget it was China that has caused this terrible mess and loss of life around the world.

3 years ago

If the swimmers take proper precautions (one swimmer per lane.. in every other lane, etc) and remain on lockdown outside of practice I don’t really see the problem with them training. However who is required to go to work so the the pool can open? Who is checking the chlorine levels? Is someone expected to come into work to ensure the facility is being maintained? What if said worker has to take public transportation to work and exposes themselves to the virus. If the swimmers take the proper precautions likelihood of spreading the virus is low. I’m worried about other people who will put their lives at risk to ensure “elite” swimmers can continue to train.

Corn Pop
Reply to  CrazyCucumber
3 years ago

I think maintenance & sanitation are still being carried out . The heating may be off but the water will still be filtrating & minimal chlorine / salt we I’ll be pumping thru .

3 years ago

Coach Boxall knows what the swimmers need! Why do all of the ignorants have to insert their opinions. Hey just do what the coach says and everything will be fine! Throw a prawn on the barbie and take a chill pill.

3 years ago

An ignorant coach I have to say.

3 years ago

The problem with this is that in Australia’s Elite preograms are funded by age group programs and LTS.

It is fine for SPW as they are bankrolled by Bevan Slattery, but for most clubs it is completely unviable to open to elite athletes and not everyone else.

In all likelihood Australian clubs look like they will be able to get back in the water in early May, so I don’t really see why this needs to be rushed at this stage, we are in a much, much better situation than pretty much any other country.

3 years ago

Whilst I can get where Boxall is coming from; and it is true that the current situation in AUS is far better than many other parts of the world; I think we need to see what effects the upcoming colder weather has on new COVID numbers before any more than very minor relaxation of restrictions. Even then, there probably need to be some very stringent regimes in place before pools are re-opened to even elite squads let alone elite swimming being near the top of national “priorities” queue.

Maybe a couple of months time and all going well, Mr Boxall, we can certainly reassess and move in the direction you want but not yet

Reply to  commonwombat
3 years ago

It looks like pools are reopening in early May.

3 years ago

It depends what you call elite does’nt it? I swim every day for exercise, am 56 years old and consider myself ‘elite’ too, and cannot wait to get back in the pool. My and many others’ health and wellbeing is no less important than olympians is it not? Good for one, good for all!

Reply to  Drey
3 years ago

“I self-identify as elite” is not a compelling argument. Your health is every bit as important as any Olympians, that’s correct. I don’t think anyone is disputing that at all and hopefully no one is stopping you from pursuing a healthy lifestyle outside of the pool. The question is, if we are returning to normal life in phases (as seems to be the approach by most of the world), should the people being paid to swim be allowed back in the water sooner than others if regional infection levels are under control and proper distancing and hygiene measures are observed? Or should there be zero swimming at all until everyone is allowed to swim?

Reply to  Drey
3 years ago

Go for a run then.

3 years ago

forget the ‘elites’. They’re already good. My kids need back in the water!

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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