Any doubts that Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers had of being a flash in the pan were quickly dismissed when he claimed a maiden 100m freestyle national crown at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games swim trials on Thursday night.
After clinching 200m gold on Wednesday, the South Australian backed up to clock an impressive 48.16 seconds in the blue riband 100m final ahead of young gun Jack Cartwright with defending champion Cam McEvoy third.
Chalmers admitted he had heard pool-side rumours ahead of his comeback meet that he may be a “one-hit wonder” after his shock Rio Olympic 100m breakthrough win.
The 19-year-old was returning from a 2017 sabbatical to adjust to life as an Olympic champ and opt for surgery to correct a heart condition.
“It’s been a rough couple of years since Rio,” Chalmers said.
“I am just glad I can still prove to myself I can do it, that I am not that one-hit wonder.”
He did it the hard way.
Chalmers at one stage looked like failing to even qualify for the 100m final after misjudging his heat swim on Thursday.
Chalmers received a reality check, just scraping into the 100m medal race after tying for seventh fastest with Cartwright in the morning heats to earn them the last spot in the final’s field.
This year the national trials have scrapped semi-finals, ensuring cut-throat morning heats determine the field for the eight-strong final.
“I did it the hard way in the morning. I was a bit rattled after the heats,” Chalmers said of the heats.
“I was very anxious (to make final). I thought I was a lot quicker than I was in the heats, that’s what shook me, thinking that I had swum a lot faster than I actually had.
“I had to compose myself because that is when I swim best, when I am relaxed.”
Chalmers still felt the pinch ahead of the 100m final.
“The pressure was on me. I had a lot of people message me on social media wishing me good luck and my family and friends are here in stands (from South Australia),” he said.
“But I used that pressure to my advantage because I knew I needed that to get myself up.”
As tough as it was, Chalmers now backed himself to pull off the 100m-200m double at April’s Games.
“I was hurting, but now I know can do it I can work on backing up at the Commonwealth Games,” he said.
Asked if he could go faster at the Gold Coast Games, Chalmers said ominously: “Absolutely, I am still in a building phase.”
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