Golden boy Kyle Chalmers of Australia keeps bringing home the trophies, as the 18-year-old Olympic champion in the men’s 100m freestyle earned yet another recognition last night in Sydney. Fitted in a tuxedo instead of swim briefs, Chalmers accepted the Australian Institution of Sport (AIS) Performance Award for ‘Male Athlete of the Year’, capping off his fairy tale year he says he never had any expectation of experiencing.
In his interview with reporters after having won the prestigious AIS award, Chalmers described what it meant to be recognized by his nation at just 18 years of age.
“I know how much AIS has done for me over my career. To be here with such an amazing group of athletes is so special. I didn’t expect to win,” says the Adelaide native.
Displaying humility, Chalmers described how he had a goal of making the Australian Olympic squad as a relay swimmer. ‘That would have been an enormous achievement,’ the Port Lincoln-born athletes said. As such, he entered what he explains as an absolute ‘whirlwind’ when he scored an Olympic berth individually, and says he has simply ‘lost the worlds to describe’ what it was like when he eventually nabbed the gold in Rio.
But as happy and surprised in the win as he was, Chalmers says in the video how his heart actually ached more for who didn’t win. Having become close with Australian teammate Cameron McEvoy over the past year or so, Chalmers experienced ‘mixed emotions’ with his gold, having his ‘heart ache for Cam’ not landing on the podium.
His admiration for McEvoy was also revealed in Chalmers’ recounting advice the elder gave the teen, in that McEvoy regretted back in 2012 resting on his laurels between trials and the actual Olympics and not putting forth every ounce of effort to get even better for the Games. Chalmers describes how he took that advice to heart and added more preparation elements into his regimen, including yoga, massage and sports psychology.
The combination worked for Chalmers in the pool by becoming Australia’s first gold medalist in the 100m freestyle race since Michael Wenden’s victory back in 1968. The Marion Swimming Club athlete has already nabbed Swimming Australia’s Olympic swimmer of the year, SA’s Golden Moment of the Year and was named The Advertiser’s Sports Star of the Year. Chalmers was also the recipient of SwimSwam’s Swammy for Oceania Male Swimmer of the Year just this week.
Video courtesy of AIS and Marion Swimming Club.