Kyle Chalmers: “I Have 2 Big Boxes I Want to Tick So I Can Retire Happily”

Kyle Chalmers has a couple more items left on his to-do list before he can comfortably call it a career. Next month, the 24-year-old sprint freestyle specialist will be the favorite to check off one of those goals — a Short Course World Championship — in front of a home crowd in Melbourne, Australia.

“The 100 freestyle is my baby and something I have achieved so much in over the years,” Chalmers told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“I have been the Australian champion, the Oceania champion, the junior world champion, the Commonwealth champion, the Olympic champion … but there are two more things I want to achieve, which is the world short-course championship and then the [long-course] world championship. I have two big boxes I want to tick so I can retire happily. So, I get the opportunity to tick one of those boxes off in front of a home crowd, and to have my family up in the crowd will mean the world to me.”

It’s been a turbulent year for Chalmers since he set the short-course world record (44.84) during last year’s FINA World Cup series. Last December, he underwent a second shoulder surgery that forced him to miss the 2021 Short Course World Championships. Then a media frenzy surrounding a perceived rift between Chalmers and Cody Simpson over former girlfriend Emma McKeon followed him from the Australian Swimming Championships in May to the Commonwealth Games in August. The sensationalized coverage took such a toll on Chalmers’ mental health that he even threatened to quit the sport altogether.

“It has been an interesting year, but it’s been a year of growth,” Chalmers said.

“For me, come Paris [Olympics] I will be completely bulletproof after going through something like this year. I feel like I have ticked every box of what challenges can come at me, and I know I will be able to deal with them better going forward.”

Chalmers enjoyed recent success at this year’s World Cup, winning the 100 free at all three stops. Despite the emergence of 18-year-old Romanian star David Popovici this summer, Chalmers remains the man to beat in short-course races — for now. Chalmers’ 45.52 from Toronto is more than a second faster than the 46.62 Popovici clocked at the Romanian Short Course Championships earlier this month.

Whereas Chalmers used to dominate because of shear strength, he now believes he holds an advantage because of his combination of power and skill in short-course racing, which places a bigger emphasis on turns and underwaters. Over the past few years, long periods away from the pool due to injury have allowed Chalmers to focus on those facets of the sport.

“For me, I would always win races by being the fittest or the strongest or the fastest kind of person in the race,” he said. “But now I am able to win races because my skills are a whole lot better than what they used to be, and they’re right up there with the best in the world.

“It is something I pride myself on now, my dive and my turns and my underwater fly kicks. It has improved a huge amount in the last two-year period. ”

With Chalmers’ body finally feeling better, he has sights set on lowering his 100 free world record to cap off a crazy season.

“I would love to think every time I dive into the pool I can swim the best I possibly can and swim personal best times,” he said. “For me, swimming a PB now is a world record.”

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Luigi
2 months ago

As for Chalmers setting a long course WR in 2023, it would be in spite of statistics. Most world record setters were between, I believe, 21 and 23 years of age when they set a WR in the LC 100 free. Bernard was older, but he had a supersuit. Popovici is an outlier (that’s what makes him phenomenal) but in the opposite way.
Of course, champions defy statistics and I wish Chalmers can turn his improved skills into a new WR in long course too.

Sub13
Reply to  Luigi
2 months ago

This is true. However, Kyle is an interesting case because basically hasn’t had a long course meet where he’s been healthy and had a proper preparation since he was 18 in 2016. It may be the case that the stars finally align next year and he is able to pull off his best possible race. But I agree with you, I’m definitely not expecting it. It is possible though.

Tommy Schmitt
2 months ago

All I want is for King Kyle to retire on Mount Olympus with a WR in the 100 free (which may not last very long but who cares)

Sub13
Reply to  Tommy Schmitt
2 months ago

He has a WR in the 100 free.

John26
2 months ago

I think most would argue the biggest hole in his resume is LC world record. I’m sure he feels that too, but no one wants to public ally talk about WRs until after they happen

Daddy Chill
Reply to  John26
2 months ago

Except THE ONE,Project 45

Troyy
2 months ago

For anyone interested the US Open psych sheets are out and Ledecky and McIntosh are set to meet again in the 400 free.

https://www.usaswimming.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/2022-toyota-us-open-pre-scratch-psych-sheet.pdf

Thought Manuel might make her return there but nope she’s not entered.

Verram
2 months ago

He needs to train with Dylan carter to improve his underwater work.. that’s where he lost many races to Carter

Gheko
2 months ago

He is also Pan Pac and Commonwealth 100m champion or has he forgotten lol

Sub13
Reply to  Gheko
2 months ago

He said Commonwealth Champion. I can understand why he wouldn’t mention Pan Pacs because no one really cares about them. I had literally never heard of them until a few years ago when I really started following swimming.

Swimmerfromjapananduk
Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

Probably because pan pacs are specific to swimming

Gheko
Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

One of the few times he beat Caeleb in a 100 free

Sub13
Reply to  Gheko
2 months ago

Also the Olympics but ok

Joel
Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

Yeah somehow 2016 slips people’s minds

Sub13
Reply to  Joel
2 months ago

Yeah from memory Kyle beat Caeleb at Rio 2016 and Pan Pacs 2018. Caeleb beat Kyle at WCs 2019 and Tokyo 2020.

They’ve literally raced four times and won two each. Yet some people are like “wow Caeleb always beats Kyle”.

Mike
Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

They raced at the mixed relay in 2019 and Caeleb won the lead off by just 0.05 or something like that. It was close

Sub13
Reply to  Mike
2 months ago

Comparing relays is not the same as comparing individual events

Tony
Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

Probably because Caeleb is also great at other events — the 50 free, 50 fly, 100 fly, 100 IM — whereas Kyle is a one event only standout.

Yokes
Reply to  Tony
2 months ago

Kyle swam the 200 free for AUS on the 800 relay where Dressel didn’t and USA didn’t medal for the first time in us history lol

Sub13
Reply to  Tony
2 months ago

Not sure of the relevance of this. We’re specifically talking about the 100 free Tony.

Emily Se-Bom Lee
2 months ago

off topic, but the draft entry list for queensland states has been published. zsc is the biggest absentee across this meet and sc worlds, but he still might show up on the finalised start list.

australian team members:
elijah winnington
zac incerti
will yang
jack cartwright
brianna throssell
kiah melverton
tamsin cook (moved to melbourne vicentre)
ella ramsay (moved to chandler)
bowen gough
shayna jack
bronte job
jenna forrester
josh edwards-smith
matt wilson
abbey harkin

age group standouts:
milla jansen
hannah casey
jesse coleman
olympia pope

visitors:
lewis clareburt (NZL)
linnea mack (USA)

grayson bell and cody simpson are… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Emily Se-Bom Lee
Sub13
Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
2 months ago

Cody isn’t going to worlds. Actually he might physically go to watch the team but he’s not competing.

We really could have used some of the people on that list. Titmus (200/400/800/200 relay), ZSC (200BR/Med/MxMed), Cartwright (100 relay) and Incerti (100/200 relay) literally all could be podium makers. JES, Melverton and Jack all have something to contribute to.

I think we have a good team but I can’t help but think how strong we would be with our actual A team.

Samboys
Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

I’d be interested to see ZSC swim short course, considering how comparatively poor his walls are.

Sub13
Reply to  Samboys
2 months ago

He last swam SCM over two years ago before his breakout and he swam a 2:03.94 which is 0.10 off a medal from last year. Two weeks later he swam a 2:07.96 LCM. He’s dropped over 2 seconds from his LCM time since then.

If we take the same drop of 3.97 seconds difference from LCM to SCM then he’d likely be just under the WR.

Bart Simpson
Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
2 months ago

I think Cartwright will win in 2024

Sub13
Reply to  Bart Simpson
2 months ago

You think Cartwright will win what in 2024?

Troyy
Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

A spot on the Olympic team.

Troyy
2 months ago

It really is a shame there’s no fourth 100 freestyler for the men’s 4×100. They really should’ve picked Yang.

Sub13
Reply to  Troyy
2 months ago

I still don’t understand why they didn’t. Did Australia hit the athlete cap? Or did they just choose not to have a fourth leg?

Samboys
Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

Did he race at short course nationals? If he didn’t I’m assuming that’s why he wasn’t picked.

Troyy
Reply to  Samboys
2 months ago

He did and came third in the 100 free with 46.87.

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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