Winning Gold With Video Games, Footie and Family Behind You – Kyle Chalmers
The 100m freestyle Olympic champion on how his environment is his key to success and why he sees himself as a killer whale.
What's your game plan?
This Aussie is definitely not your typical Olympic champion but more a relaxed and down-to-earth kid, who loves PlayStation, his family and the countryside. It’s this coolness that he makes count when it matters most.
This is Kyle Chalmers’ game plan.
Fresh from your win in Rio, how does it feel to be less popular than your grandparents?
It’s true I’ve had to take the back seat for a couple of weeks (laughs). They became quite famous after that video went on the internet. I think they had around 12.5 million views. They were the talk of the internet and my grandpa does not even know how to use YouTube. I guess they have taken off…they are huge.
What is your favorite environment to live, train and perform in?
Living and training is amazing at the moment. I love living in South Australia – Adelaide is like a big country town. It is super relaxed and I get to kind of do my own thing and fly under the radar. I live at home with my family, so I do not need to worry about cooking and cleaning. I just get to be a professional, full-time swimmer, so that is pretty good. And then racing internationally is probably my favorite way to race. Santa Clara this year was pretty awesome and then obviously Rio was another amazing experience.
How did you create a winning environment in Rio?
So the day of my final, I had breakfast in the morning, went and had a light swim and had a massage – which I would normally do – and then played FIFA for probably four, five hours. Then I went back and loved swimming in the finals.
You posted a picture showing your embrace with team mate Cameron McEvoy after the 100m freestyle final. Why was this a special moment for you?
Me and Cam are pretty good friends, we had spent two weeks before the competition bonding over PlayStation, I was training with his coach, Richard Scarce, we were in the same apartment in Rio, so we spent a lot of time together in the run-up to that race. It was hard for me performing well and knowing that Cam had not performed to his best, but it was amazing to have him come across into my lane, to give me a hug straightaway and congratulate me. It was a moment I will cherish forever.
In your opinion what is the most important part of being successful?
Remembering where you have come from and staying humble. I grew up in the country, so I just want to make sure I keep the bond with the people and my family who have got me to that point. I do not want to turn into some arrogant person that forgets about everything. They are the morals I have stuck to.
Ian Thorpe interviewed you sitting in a pool on fancy pool floats during the Games and you mentioned that the most annoying interview question is being compared with him…
Yes, the comparison is just a media hype. I have never really compared myself to another swimmer, because I’m not someone who has followed swimming their whole life. I have always been a basketball and an AFL fan. I have not really taken much inspiration from many swimmers. Obviously, Ian Thorpe has achieved so much and everyone knows who he is in Australia. I guess media has kind of made me want to achieve some of the things he has done, but it is pretty hard to compete with a guy who was a World Champion at the age of 15 and world record holder at 16.
If I had to compare myself to someone, it would be Kevin Durant. I take a lot of inspiration from him. He has come from a pretty rough upbringing and it is just an inspirational story to what he is doing now. He is someone I look up to.
Lingering on that topic of pool floats...If you would have to describe yourself as a pool float. What would you look like?
I would be a killer whale. I do not have a pool in my backyard, so I don’t know a whole lot about pool floats but the killer whale sounded pretty cool. I am pretty sure that you can like lie on him and he has handles.