Kyle Chalmers meets Brianna and her brother Lachlan during the Marion Aquatic Centre’s Vacswim launch last November. Picture: Tricia Watkinson.
Kyle Chalmers meets Brianna and her brother Lachlan during the Marion Aquatic Centre’s Vacswim launch last November. Picture: Tricia Watkinson.

Who’s got a back yard pool for King Kyle?

Kyle Chalmers is currently on a two-week sabbatical from swimming but when the reigning Olympic 100m freestyle champion does return to training it will be in the ocean, the river or even someone's back yard pool.

The 21-year-old has spent the past week on a rural property at Streaky Bay, fishing and camping out in his swag to mentally reset after the Tokyo Olympics were postponed due to the coronavirus crisis.

Despite the setback, Chalmers says he remains as motivated as ever about defending his gold medal next year and has revealed he also plans to add the 100m butterfly to his schedule.

 

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With public pools across the nation closed, Chalmers is in no rush to dive back in.

But he doesn't want to lose his feel for the water and when the time comes he will have to think outside the square to find a location, and then comply with strict government rules on gatherings of no more than two people.

"I'm having two weeks of nothing and just reset before I start doing any physical activity again, I think I need that for the mind to process all the information and realise it's (Tokyo) not going ahead at the moment," he said.

Kyle Chalmers says his only concern while on an indefinite break from the pool is losing his touch and feel for the water. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Kyle Chalmers says his only concern while on an indefinite break from the pool is losing his touch and feel for the water. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

"But I personally am going to look into trying to find somewhere I can swim, whether it's in the ocean, or the river or a friend who has a back yard pool I can bunker down with for a while.

"Just so I don't lose my feel for the water, that's my only real concern about it, losing that touch.

"Land athletes are lucky, I was talking to a few of my mates who play AFL and they're able to run around and kick the footy, and they've all got gyms in their houses so are lucky to keep their strength.

"But with swimming there are very few pools you can keep swimming in when they close down.

"SASI (SA Sports Institute) have been supportive with it, they've provided us with equipment but when there are hundreds of athletes the equipment gets pretty scarce, so I've got a few things and I'll have to get creative.

Kyle Chalmers meets Brianna, 8, and her brother Lachlan, 9, at the SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre, Marion, in November. Picture: Tricia Watkinson
Kyle Chalmers meets Brianna, 8, and her brother Lachlan, 9, at the SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre, Marion, in November. Picture: Tricia Watkinson

"I've got my Wattbike set up in front of the TV and a bit of a gym set up now as well so I'll do a fair bit of that."

Chalmers shocked the world in Rio, 2016, when he won the 100m freestyle at just 18. Two years later he became Commonwealth champion in the 200m freestyle and now wants to contest the 100m butterfly in Tokyo as well.

At the NSW state titles last month he swam a 51.37secs PB which was the third fastest 100m butterfly time ever by an Australian.

"We had nationals coming up in April in Perth and that was going to be my big competition to see where my 100m butterfly, 100m and 200m freestyle were at," Chalmers said.

"They're probably the three individual races I was targeting, but it makes it a pretty big program when you add relays into that as well, so I was going to do those three and see where I was at and make the call.

"Now I'll just have to wait and do it again next year, but the 100m butterfly has really come on for me this year and it's something I do want to do in Tokyo so I'm pretty excited about that.'

The 21-year-old plans to swim the 100m and 200m freestyle and 100m butterfly at next year’s Tokyo Olympics. Picture: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
The 21-year-old plans to swim the 100m and 200m freestyle and 100m butterfly at next year’s Tokyo Olympics. Picture: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

He says his motivation to stay focused on Tokyo remains as strong as ever, despite being unable to train with his squad.

"I'm extremely motivated, waking up and not being able to train (last week) freaked me out completely because I am such a driven, motivated person, and I enjoy training more than I enjoy racing," he said.

"I love being able to do things in the pool in training that even my coaches don't believe is possible, so I know that I'll be sweet as soon as I can get back in the pool I'll be swimming as hard and fast as I can to catch up on what I've missed out on.

"We've just got to be adaptable, it's out of our control and we have to be accepting of what's happened and preparing for the next thing."

In the meantime, Chalmers said his reptile collection would keep him busy and he may also try some mind training on dry land.

 

 

"They (reptiles) keep me pretty busy, that's almost a full-time job, I can spend three to four hours out there on a day when I'm still training, but now I'm not training I could spend almost every minute with them," he said.

"It's just calling and communicating with people and staying in touch with things.

"And they say you can get the same results from visualisation as you do with actual training, they did a study in Japan where they had guys lifting and guys imagining they were, and they got the same results.

"So if I can imagine swimming 100m freestyle in 46.7 seconds that's probably all I need to do and it will be happy days."

 

Originally published as Who's got a back yard pool for King Kyle?



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