Since the 2012 Olympics Australian Mitch Larkin has been one of the fastest improving swimmers on the international stage. Larkin currently trains in Brisbane with the St Peters Western Swimming Club and is coached by Michael Bohl.
Larkin’s greatest successes as a junior came in the the individual medley events. As a 17 year-old he took gold in the 400 IM, silver in the 200 IM and bronze in the 200 backstroke at the 2010 Junior Pan Pacific Championships. That same year he won gold in the 200 and 400 IM, 200 freestyle and 4 x 200 freestyle as well as a silver in the 200 backstroke at the Oceania Championships.
Larkin was the second youngest athlete on the Australian Olympic team competing in the games at the age of 19. He earned a the opportunity to compete in London by winning the 200 backstroke at the Australian Olympic Trials. In London, which was Larkin’s first appearance at a major international competition, he placed eighth in the 200 backstroke.
2013 World Championships
Larkin represented Australia at the 2013 World Championships in the 200 backstroke. After making the final in London he missed out on a chance to compete in the semi-finals in Barcelona finishing 17th in the prelims.
The 2013-2014 season was a breakthrough year for Larkin who has said it was the year that the quality of his racing finally matched the quality of his training.
He won his first gold at a major international competition taking the 200 backstroke at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. At the same meet he collected silver medals in the 50 and 100 backstroke as well as the 4 x 100 medley relay.
He then went on to compete on home soil at the Pan Pacific Championships which were held on the Gold Coast. Larkin went up against stiffer competition then he faced in Glasgow and wound up winning a bronze in the 200 backstroke, finishing behind American Tyler Clary and Ryosuke Irie of Japan. He was also a member of the Australian 4 x 100 medley relay which earned a bronze.
Larkin carried the momentum from his success in the summer of 2014 to accomplish even more in the 2014-15 season. At the Short Course World Championships he won a gold in the 100 backstroke and a bronze in the 200 backstroke.
He then went on to win both the 100 and 200 backstroke at the World Championships. It was in Kazan that Larkin faced the most challenging competition he had seen up until that point in his career. At the championships he beat Olympic gold medalists Matt Grevers and Tyler Clary of the United States and Olympic silver and bronze medalist Ryosuke Irie of Japan.
Larkin competed in the 2015 FINA World Cup participating in the competitions held in Tokyo, Doha and Dubai. He took gold in the 100 and 200 backstroke in all three competitions and tied American David Plummer for the gold in the 50 backstroke in Dubai.
It was in Dubai that Larkin set Commonwealth records in the 100 (52.11) and the 200 backstroke (1:53.17).
Although Larkin only competed in three of the eight World Cup events he finished third in the overall point standings behind South Africans Cameron van der Burgh and Chad le Clos.
At the Australian Short Course Championships in November Larkin set a new world record in the 200 backstroke. He took the event in a time of 1:45.63 breaking the previous record of 1:46.11 set by Arkady Vyatchanin in 2009. He also set a new Commonwealth mark in the 100 backstroke posting a time of 49.03.
Larkin qualified for the 100 and 200 meter backstroke with golds in both events at the 2016 Australian Championships.
2016 Rio Olympics
Going into the Olympics as the World Champion in both backstroke events, Larkin was the favorite in Rio. It took a while for Larkin to get going at the games, only finishing 4th in the 100 meter backstroke in 52.43, just 3 hundredths of a second behind David Plummer of the US who took the bronze.
He finally won a medal in the 200 meter backstroke, finishing second in 1:53.96 behind USA’s Ryan Murphy. It was a battle at the touch for bronze and silver, with Larkin getting to the wall just 0.01 ahead of Russia’s Evgeny Rylov.
On the final night of the Games, Larkin joined Jake Packard, David Morgan and Kyle Chalmers to take bronze in the medley relay behind USA and Great Britain.
Two of Larkin’s Favourite Sets
2 x (4 x 25 on 1.30 fast / 4 x 50 on 1.30 fast / 100 fast + 200 easy)
8 x 100 on 1.45 (holding 61) + 100 easy + 8 x 50 on 60 feet on wall (holding 28) + 200 easy + 4 x 25 from a backstroke regulation start