Australian age group star Kyle Chalmers arrived with his teammates in Doha this week for final preparations before heading to Kazan as a member of Australia’s World Championships team. The 17-year-old Chalmers is unique in that he will be competing in both the Senior Worlds, as part of the Aussie 4x100m freestyle relay, and will also be contesting several events at the Junior Worlds in Singapore thereafter.
However, due to a recent incident involving Chalmers and his love for the Australian Football League (AFL), the young Australian came dangerously close to following in his injured teammates James Magnussen and Brittany Elmslie in becoming the latest victim of the “Kazan Curse”, where his participation in both senior and junior meets were in jeopardy.
From the Australian swim team staging camp in Doha, Chalmers revealed he actually had made his under-the-radar XVIII Australian Football League (AFL) game debut for Immanuel College this spring, but it did not go quite as planned. Chalmers has a familial connection to the sport, as his father is a former AFL star and now coaches a team. This has instilled a desire for Chalmers to potentially play in the AFL himself.
However, in true swimmer style, within just the first five minutes of his very first game, Chalmers left the field with both a broken wrist and torn ankle ligaments. The Courier Mail reports that Chalmers tried to conceal his ankle injury for a few weeks from his swim coaches before finally getting treated with cortisone injections to ease the swelling. He also sported a plastic cast for the wrist injury.
As a result, Chalmers’ coaches have since banned the age group wonder from playing football again through at least Worlds. Chalmers says of the incident, “I would’ve been pretty upset (to miss the world titles), but I think I had to play a game of First XVIIIs at school. It was such an honor getting presented with socks and shorts in front of the whole school so yeah I really wanted to play a game of First XVIIIs and dad being the coach.”
Looking ahead now to Kazan, Chalmers says “There’s obviously a lot of things I can work on in my 100m freestyle, my turn and skills are not amazing. I’ve been working on that a fair bit.” Chalmers’ talent in sprint freestyle extends even beyond the immediate future, as he is just 17-years old and hasn’t even yet incorporate weights into his training regimen. Team Australia looks forward to what this rising stud can do once he takes on more than his current six sessions a week schedule.