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"I just got lucky in Rio": Golden boy Chalmers eyes national title

Sport

Simply walking down the street these days is a challenge for South Australia's Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers.

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More than two months after his Rio 100m freestyle triumph, the 18-year-old is still stopped by admirers in Adelaide for an autograph or selfie.

Yet Chalmers does not consider himself one of swimming’s “big dogs” after becoming the first Australian since 1968 to claim Olympic 100m gold.

The way Chalmers sees it, he simply got lucky in Brazil.

“The way I look at Rio, I was not the best swimmer in the pool,” he said.

“I think I just got lucky… I still have a long way to go and lot of improvement to get to the next level.

“I haven’t even won a national title.”

Chalmers hopes to end his national title drought at the three-day Australian short course titles from today.

“Hopefully I can get lucky at the national titles,” Chalmers laughed.

The teenager may not consider himself swimming’s elite but he is certainly treated like it back at his Adelaide base.

That does mean a lot to me because I want to build the sport up in South Australia

“Doing simple things like going out for coffee with mates, going out for lunch, walking down … to get groceries have been a challenge for me, people stopping me for photos and signatures,” Chalmers said.

“But I think I am starting to get used to it now. I enjoy it when I see little kids ask for a photo, you can see the excitement in their eyes. That does mean a lot to me because I want to build the sport up in South Australia.”

Chalmers will contest the 200m event at the national short course titles and has not ruled out permanently adding it to his program.

“I really like the 200m. It intrigues me. It’s a race I will definitely look at doing in the future (long course),” he said.

“There’s more thought process that goes into it – it is not an all out sprint or all out aerobic race.

“I did my first couple of international races on the World Cup (circuit) and really enjoyed it.”

Chalmers has arrived at Brisbane fresh from recent 200m wins on the World Cup circuit in Singapore and Tokyo.

But Chalmers believed he faced a steep learning curve in Brisbane.

“I am not a short course swimmer at all,” he said.

“But I would love to make that world short course team in Canada at the end of the year.”

Still, the men’s 200m freestyle looms as the race of the Brisbane meet.

Chalmers will line up in a 200m field also featuring Rio 400m gold medallist Mack Horton, Cameron McEvoy and Thomas Fraser-Holmes, as well as South Korea’s Olympic medallist Park Tae-Hwan.

The Brisbane meet is the selection trial for December’s world short course titles in Windsor, Canada.

-AAP

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