Kyle Chalmers: Watching Caeleb Dressel Puts A Fire In My Belly

The 2017 Australian Short Course Championships kick-off in Adelaide this weekend, with one of the nation’s biggest stars set to take the stage. 2016 Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers will be racing in his home state of South Australia and although the championships are not a selection meet, the competition will enable the 19-year-old to get his Tokyo 2020 journey underway.

The 100m freestyle virtuoso pulled out of this year’s World Championships in order to address his Supraventricular Tachycardia heart issue. Chalmers underwent a successful procedure in early June and quietly returned to competition via an exhibition 100m butterfly within a local SA Division I meet on July 1st.

Despite not being able to compete in Budapest, Chalmers ventured to Hungary to assess the competition and cheer on his fellow Australians. Not being the water only fueled the athlete to want to get back to competing on an elite international level even more.

“It was tough watching,’’ he said. “It definitely inspired me to get back in the pool and train as hard as I can leading in to Comm Games because you see Caeleb Dressel go 47.1 (seconds) and I beat him the year before so it puts the fire back in the belly that I want to be the top swimmer in the world,” Chalmers told The Advertiser.

“It’s going to be a bit of a journey to get there but that’s my goal and I’ll work as hard as I can.”

Helping along his path to potentially defending his gold in Tokyo is Queensland-based sports psychologist Elise Bateman.

“She has always been the Australian junior team psych so we formed that relationship there and I really enjoy her and that’s the main thing, having someone you feel comfortable talking to,” Chalmers said.

“It has been a massive change to life since the Olympic Games so she has helped me stay on track with that and set goals leading forward with what I can do.

“If you’re having a bad day or training is not going the best, it’s good to have someone to talk to. We train such a ridiculous amount of times a week so you’re not going to have a good session every day.

“So it’s good you can have someone to talk to who is not your coach and you can get everything off your chest and start fresh again which I find really helpful.” (The Advertiser)

Chalmers raced at the World Cup in Eindhoven, as well as the 2017 Energy for Swim! charity meet in Rome last August, both of which he called a ‘bit of a shock to the system’.

He says, “When I got to Europe I was still unfit and to go 49.0 long course in Rome I was stoked with that. Our goal was to go 49 and to almost go 48 I was very happy.” Chalmers clocked 49.08 in the Rome race.

In addition to meeting with a sports psychologist, Chalmers told The Advertiser he is more dedicated with his dryland training.

“Leading into Rio I didn’t do a whole lot of gym. I wasn’t overly motivated in the gym to do much, but coming back from heart surgery we’ve got a new gym coach.

“About five days after surgery I was back in the gym. I was doing some stuff on the treadmill and bike to keep my fitness up.

“The new gym coach has really motivated me to push myself and apply myself, so I definitely have got a little bit stronger because I am doing the two gym sessions a week to the best of my ability, rather than just going in and having a joke with the boys.”

This weekend the Port Lincoln native is set to swim his signature 100m freestyle, along with the 200m freestyle, 50m freestyle, 50m butterfly and 100m butterfly.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

15 Comment threads
49 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
35 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

I feel like the Australians put a lot of emphasis on their mental health/stress management coaches. And that’s great, it’s super important, but clearly it’s not working that well for a lot of them. I think there is something to be said for our college program, where we supplement the out of pool coaching with regular rehearsals in high pressure situations. Sport is about doing, not talking.


The Aussies don’t seem as battle hardened as the USA Swimmers.

I don’t know if AUS national team members are used to being coddled. But look at the Aussies behind the blocks before a big race like the Olympics or WCs, and you will see a bundle of nerves.

Chalmers looks pretty rugged, but maybe he needs a sympathetic ear to keep him feeling good.


AUS swimming is in many ways a prisoner of its own geographic isolation and being on opposite seasons to 90% of its major competition. The latter has been (belatedly) addressed by switching the AUS competition season out of AUS summer to match Northern Hemisphere. Whilst at any given time, there may be 1-2 events where the level of AUS domestic competition is sufficiently strong to push competitors to world level and maybe a few others where there may be a duo who push each other to acheive; in most events its generally one at best plotting a solo path and relying on their own motivation to swim the required times. Are AUS swimmers “coddled” ?? Maybe. Historically there has been… Read more »

Steve Nolan

I could be way off, but maybe it’s been emphasized in response to some of their recent struggles? I hadn’t heard much of them doing a lot of mental health / stress management stuff outside of the last year or so.

jay ryan

Maybe nerves and battle hardening were an issue for some of the Aussies in Rio. Not for this guy…Chalmers won the 100 free as a dark horse! The same goes for some of the oldies like Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett, Glen Houseman, Kieran Perkins, Libby Lenton, Jody Henry, the Sydney men’s 400 free relay, etc, etc, etc. I think the Aussie public puts a lot of pressure on these guys, and some bad mojo snowballed after the Stilbox incidents in London. Best to act like a champion and swim like a champion, the psychological issues will take care of themselves.


Jay, with respect, I feel that your reading of history is somewhat astray. Chalmers WAS the dark horse in Rio with all the expectation on McEvoy … who for better or worse faltered. Thorpe only batted 1/2 in his peak events in both Sydney and Rio. Housman …. had his brief moment in the sun in 1990 before being superseded by Perkins. Perkins only batted 1/2 in Barcelona then his 400 disappeared off the race of the earth post 1994 and was off the team between 1996 & 2000. Henry was the Chalmers to Lenton’s McEvoy in Athens; Lenton crumbled (failed to make final) and she nearly repeated this in Beijing. The Stillnox episode probably was the break-point as regards… Read more »

jay ryan

CWB, I still think that these guys do pretty well for a nation with such a small population. I forget of you’re an Aussie or not from your prior posts in our “online swimswam community”, but as an American I am predisposed to give these guys a break.


Indonesian as I remember.


An AUS/RSA dual citizen; resident in AUS for much of the past 30 years.

AUS certainly does have a history of producing quality swimmers but the question raised by some here (are they also quality racers) is frankly a valid one.


Most of the people you mention were multi world and olympic champions, how many medals have you won mate?


This topic isn’t about CWB…


Gregor, it is not a criticism of ANY of these swimmers but rather a statement of fact. Thorpe went into both Sydney & Athens as both reigning World Champion, World Record Holder and favourite in both 200 & 400 free. For better or worse, he only won the 400s. Hackett’s intl record in his “other events”: outside Olympics was excellent but at Olympic level, he was erratic. Perkins went into Barcelona as reigning WR holder and favourite in both 400 & 1500; he batted 1/2 (1500, beaten at 400) Lenton went into Athens as the WR holder and favoutite…… but missed the final. Had a Chinese swimmer not been DQd in the Beijing semis. we would’ve had a carbon copy.… Read more »


Wow, I wonder you think of Bondi & Gross who lost to Duncan Armstrong in 1988 or Popov, who was looking for 3 peat as world champion only to lose to PVH in Sydney or PVH himself who only went 1/2 in Athens or Sun who went 2/3 in London & only 1/3 in Rio.

tea rex

I don’t know about all of those, but Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett have both had very public mental health issues.


So have Phelps and Franklin and others.


Kyle doesn’t want none of Caeleb.



samuel huntington

excited to see what he can do, I see no reason why a 47 low or even 46 high isn’t doable


It’s going to be tough because he doesn’t have the 50 speed to go out faster enough for a 47 low or faster. Unless you can go 21 mod in the 50, you won’t be able to go 47 low. You can only back half your race so much.


He was only 18 years & a few months in Rio & still at school . Also with the heart condition I am sure they were careful not to trigger the base cause .

Kyle has had a steady improvement 14 -18 years whilst right at the very best ever age efforts year after year. Nothing there that says he cannot improve his 50 a fraction each year till he does get to 21.5 .

Whatever , Kyle is a pretty good swimmer if you ask me .


Did you see his back half in Rio?


I agree, but he doesn’t have the type of stroke that will allow him to go out fast enough to go 46. He can only back him it so much.

Maybe I’m wrong, but unless he comes home in 24.0 or better, 46 will be almost impossible.

science geek

Yeah but just like Simone he can ride the waves home.


47 low maybe, 46 I really want to know your logic

Caeleb Dressel WILL get 7 golds in Tokyo

He is .18 way from a 46. I really want to know your logic on why he can’t do that.


Can you tell me how a 46 high isn’t a 46 second 100?


I think he was talking about Chalmers bro…


Yup unfortunately the average reader can’t see that


Is a 47 low or 46 high hard for you?


Yeah and for more than 99% of swimmers in this world seeing as how only one can go a 47 low right now

Justin Thompson

You can’t have it all. Full ride and ladies man will have to do. ??


Can someone tell me how Chalmers will go a 46


Swim 6 tenths faster.

Justin Thompson

From the start to the end of the race, Kyle will have finished between 46.00 and 46.99 seconds.


Come on man; If an American went 47mid to become OLY champ at 18 you’d be screaming that 46s is inevitable haha!

46 should absolutely be a goal of his one day.


anyone see Kyle being interviewed after the 100m in Rio, it was like he had won the School Swimming Carnival!


Absolutely, but I think the other reason people are a little hesitant to say he’ll go a 46 low is because of how he swims his races vs how Caeleb swims his races. Chalmers has the fastest 2nd 50 in the hundred without a doubt, 24.2 or so coming back is well ahead of anyone else, the only problem is he would need to be out faster than 22.8 to go a 46 and he simply hasn’t shown that type of speed in his career as of right now and if he gets out much faster we don’t know if his 2nd 50 would be as fast. With Caeleb, he has the raw speed on the first 50 and has… Read more »

About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

Loretta grew up outside Toledo, OH, where she swam age group and high school. Graduating from Xavier University, she stayed in the Cincinnati, OH area and currently resides just outside the city in Northern KY.  Loretta got back into the sport of swimming via Masters and now competes and is …

Read More »

Don't want to miss anything?

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive our latest updates!