Former Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers said he was as happy as he has ever been after clocking 47.44 seconds to win the men’s 100m freestyle final at the Australian trials for next month’s World Championships.
Chalmers, who won the blue riband event at the Rio Olympics as a teenager and claimed silver in Tokyo in 2021, took a mental health break last year.
Now working two days a week on a building site in addition to his training, the 24-year-old said his mental well-being was helping his swimming.
“I’m having a lot of fun in the pool but having a lot more fun out of the pool, which is, I think, massively contributing to my success in the pool this year,” he told reporters at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre after Friday’s race.
“It’s made me really enjoy the sport again and love it and probably refound my passion and reason why I’m doing it.
“I’ve been so excited, so energised, I feel like I’m a 17-year-old kid again rocking up to race, I think that showed in my first 50m of the race which probably took away from my back end a little bit.”
Chalmers’ best finish in the 100m at the World Championships was a silver medal at the 2019 edition in South Korea behind American Caeleb Dressel, who also pipped him to Olympic gold in Tokyo.
The Australian has swum faster than 47.44 - his personal best is 47.08 - but believes he is fully on track for the 100m final at the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan on July 27.
“I know that in five weeks’ time I can swim a whole lot faster,” Chalmers added.
“I’ve been around the mark for quite some time now and a World Championships gold medal is something that has evaded me throughout my career and something that I’m desperate to do before my time is done.”
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