Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus may have been dubbed The Terminator by her father, but the rising star credits her coach with inspiring the relentless pursuit of improvement.
Titmus completed her domination of the women’s freestyle events at the Commonwealth Games trials on Friday night when she won the 800m gold to go with the 400m and 200m events she won earlier in the week.
In doing so she became the first woman since 2004 to win all three events, setting her up for a shot at Commonwealth Games gold and an eye to a strong performance at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
The 17-year-old credits coach Dean Boxall with her rapid improvement since moving from her native Tasmania to Queensland to pursue her dream. That dedication is detailed in her Instagram account, which is full of posts about the hard training she’s been doing in the lead up to the trials.
“Some of the things he says aren’t quite appropriate [to share publicly],” the Brisbane-based swimmer told the ABC while discussing Boxall’s inspirational role in her rise.
“He always says if I get better he has to push harder, so it’s been tough.
“He is always on my back. There is never a moment I can relax — I always have to be on.”
And while Titmus notes her coach’s style of teaching isn’t for everyone, she says it has made her mentally tough.
“He pushes my buttons sometimes. A lot of people couldn’t handle it but it keeps me mentally tough for racing,” she said. “I know he is only trying to help me and that he believes in me so much.”
A post shared by ARIARNE TITMUS (@ariarnetitmus_) on
Indeed, after Friday night’s 800m, when she scored a personal best time but failed in her goal to win under eight minutes 20 seconds, Titmus said her coach was not so happy.
“As soon as I finished the race, I saw Dean say to me: ‘You breathed at the flags’,” she told News Corp.
Titmus announced her arrival in the top echelon at the Fina world championsips last year when she was part of the bronze-medal winning 4×200 freestyle relay team.
“In Tassie they don’t really have the standard of training and racing that you have up here [in Queensland],” she told QUT news. “I had to make a move if i wanted to go further in the sport
“I don’t think many people would have parents that would pack up everything and leave – we literally organised it in two months. It was a big sacrifice for them, but I’m really grateful.”
Expect The Terminator to be back for more when the Gold Coast Games kick off next month.