In an interview with the SEN SA Breakfast radio show on Thursday, Australian Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers revealed that his “body has never felt better” and credited working at a construction site two days a week for helping him find balance outside of the pool this year.
“This year, my body has never felt better, which is definitely helping my mind,” said Chalmers, who has undergone multiple heart and shoulder surgeries at the age of 24. “I’d say I’m in the happiest spot I’ve been in quite some time. So I’m really excited for the next 12 months. We have the World Championships to get through first in Japan in a month’s time, and then the focus will be on all things Paris.
“For me, I’m laboring on a building site two days a week, which is just something away from the pool for my mental health — something different, different stimulus, different dudes,” he added. “I’m absolutely loving that, and reconnecting with those friends and family members that I haven’t had a heap to do with over the period. Obviously swimming is a massively intense sport where we train 50 hours a week, 50 weeks of the year. So the hours I’m not in the pool, I’m kind of at home sleeping and napping and preparing for the next training session. Or I’m interstate — last year I think I only spent eight weeks in Adelaide.”
How does Kyle Chalmers keep his mind fresh away from the swimming pool? pic.twitter.com/tvdLY4F9jX
— SEN SA 1629 (@1629senSA) June 1, 2023
It was less than a year ago that Chalmers threatened to quit swimming altogether after a media frenzy surrounding his relationship with fellow Aussie Olympian Emma McKeon and new beau Cody Simpson dominated the conversation at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Now Chalmers seems to have gained a fresh perspective on the sport by reconnecting with his roots.
“For me, I’ve really prioritized my friendships and my family this year, which I think has massively impacted me and helped me be a whole lot happier in the pool, which is making me swim fast again and love it,” Chalmers said. “I think those are the keys, and just being true to myself and being who I am. I’ve tried to transfer that across into my social media this year and show people a little more of the authentic Kyle, who I really am instead of just Kyle Chalmers, the robotic swimmer.”
Chalmers also shared how he has struggled with the individual aspect of swimming after growing up playing and cheering for team sports such as basketball and Australian rules football.
“I think my best swims I’ve ever had have always been in relays because I just love that team environment — being in the room with three other guys, the build-up to the race, doing it for each other rather than just myself,” he said. “I’m able to find that little that I’m not able to at times in individual races. I think it’s that upbringing from football and basketball and other team sports as a kid has made me thrive in those opportunities and in those races.”
The discussion featured some lighter moments, too. When the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics due to COVID-19 was brought up, Chalmers said the first thing he thought of was the NBA season’s cancellation and how it affected his fantasy basketball team.
“The first thing that sprung to my mind when you said the Games were postponed, I instantly thought about the NBA being postponed and how much it impacted my fantasy basketball team,” he laughed. “I completely forgot about the Olympics being postponed.”
Toward the end of the interview, Chalmers admitted that he should probably stop getting so many tattoos, but he just can’t help himself, especially given how convenient it is.
“Realistically, I think I probably need to stop,” he said. “I think I’ve unfortunately gotten addicted to it. I never saw myself as a person who would get tattoos and be covered in tattoos. I think it’s more something my brother and I bond over and having a best mate who is a tattoo artist causes me to go in there quite often.”