Chalmers’ ‘stripped back’ move primes swimmer for Paris

Murray Wenzel |

Olympic swimming star Kyle Chalmers is loving life at his new Sunshine Coast training base.
Olympic swimming star Kyle Chalmers is loving life at his new Sunshine Coast training base.

Kyle Chalmers has slowed down to speed up, the Olympic champion saying his new “stripped back” training environment is helping ahead of the Paris Olympics.

Chalmers stormed to a shock gold at Rio’s 2016 Games in the 100m freestyle and was touched out of back-to-back Olympic titles in Tokyo.

The South Australian willl head to Paris in form and among the contenders after being among the standouts at last week’s Australian championships on the Gold Coast.

Kyle Chalmers impressed on the Gold Coast. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

That’s despite the 25-year-old’s recent, forced shift from Adelaide to the Sunshine Coast after long-time mentor Peter Bishop had his coaching accreditation revoked following an investigation of which no details have been published.

In Chalmers’ first competition since, he set personal bests in the 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly before going under 48 seconds at the outdoor facility for the first time to win the 100m freestyle in 47.63.

He said new coach Ash Delaney’s methods at St Andrews Swimming Club at the low-key Peregian Beach were working.

“I’m really loving it up there; Ash is one of my closest’s mates, he’s helped me fit in so well,” Chalmers told Channel Nine.

“It’s made the transition really easy; the squad’s amazing and I’m really loving swimming.

“It was so professional in Adelaide. We’ve stripped it back slightly, it’s kind of like going back to that club level and I’m loving every second of it.

“That new stimulation is exciting me and I’m loving training against these hungry guys coming through.”

“I can’t wait to swim in eight weeks time (at Brisbane’s Olympic trials).”

Australia’s top hopes all flexed their Games muscle over four days at the Southport pool,  Mollie O’Callaghan recording the fastest time this year in 200m freestyle and Ariarne Titmus impressing in her pet 400m freestyle event.

Mollie O'Callaghan
Mollie O’Callaghan showed promising form at the Australian titles. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

Kaylee McKeown was on her own world-record pace early in the 200m backstroke final on Saturday, her time of 2:03.84 just 0.7 seconds slower than her 2023 high mark.

The red-hot McKeown on Thursday swam the fourth-fastest women’s 400m medley in history, shattering Stephanie Rice’s Australian record as she went nearly six seconds quicker than anyone else this year.

But the 22-year-old, who owns world records in all three backstroke disciplines, quickly ruled it out of her potentially stacked Paris program. 

Kaylee McKeown
Kaylee McKeown was another star in fine form. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

McKeown didn’t compete in the 100m backstroke on the Gold Coast. 

It was won by O’Callaghan, who will enter the event at the Olympic trials, in a personal best time only slower than McKeown and American rival Regan Smith this year.

Emma McKeon, Australia’s most decorated Olympian, won the 100m butterfly in pouring rain, clocking 56.58 to go well under the country’s Olympic qualification mark and offset a pair of third places in the 50m and 100m freestyle events she claimed gold in at Tokyo.