Last year after having undergone successful surgery to address his heart condition known as Supraventricular Tachycardia, Olympic gold medalist Kyle Chalmers of Australia told media that he’d “commit himself till 2020, then he’d decide what he wants to do.” Speaking again with Australian media this week, the 20-year-old has now clarified his post-Tokyo plans.
Although the Port Lincoln native will indeed seek to defend his 100m freestyle Olympic title, Chalmers told Adelaide Now this week that he plans on quitting swimming after the 2020 Games. Instead, Chalmers wants to pursue his dream of playing in the Australian Rules Football league, just like his father.
“It’s something I would love to do and because it is my dream — I would give absolutely everything to see if that dream would take off,” Chalmers said.
“I know how hard it can be to be an athlete in regards to training and commitment. I think I’ve got that background knowledge in it and if there was a sniff I could play AFL football, I’d train all day every day to see if I could get drafted firstly.”
Chalmers actually made his under-the-radar XVIII Australian Football League (AFL) game debut for Immanuel College back in the Spring of 2015, but it did not go quite as planned. 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 teen 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.
Looking ahead 3 years later, the freestyle sprint ace admits, “It would be hard for me to go from being at the top of the swimming world to potentially being a rookie on a footy list.
“There’d be a big shock but I’d do everything I could and give everything up to pursue that dream because it has been a dream of mine since I was small.”
Plans change and Chalmers will still be a young 22 years of age come Tokyo. Considering the 2016 50m freestyle champion Anthony Ervin was 35 years of age and the most decorated Olympian of all-time, now-retired Michael Phelps, still won medals at 31, Chalmers may yet revise his swimming goals in the future.
For this year, Chalmers had previously opted out of competing at next week’s Short Course World Championships in Hangzhou, China.