'I don't follow swimming' - Chalmers unaware of Commonwealth rivals

Gold Coast (Australia) (AFP) –


Don't ask Australia's Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers who are his medal threats in the pool at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, because he says he has no idea.

Chalmers, who shocked the swimming world at 18 when he landed gold at the Olympics two years ago, is the favourite to win the 100 metres freestyle at his home Games next weekend.

Chalmers, who became the first Australian man in 48 years to win the Olympic 100m freestyle title in Rio, knows he will be up against team-mates Cameron McEvoy and Jack Cartwright in the event. But apart from them, he is in the dark.

Asked who he saw as his main overseas threats, Chalmers was disarmingly candid.

"I have no idea. I don't know who's swimming here. I don't follow swimming really, to be honest with you, so I have no idea," Chalmers told journalists on Sunday.

"I have no idea what happened in Glasgow (2014 Commonwealth Games). I know we got top three, so that's exciting but I don't know what people are in the event.

"I just know that Cam (McEvoy) and Jack (Cartwright) are in there, and that's all that matters to me."

Chalmers has plenty of outside activities to keep him busy, including an obsession with lizards, and is very laid-back about his elite swimming career.

"I'm pretty easy-going, I've got a lot more going on outside of the pool that keeps me occupied so swimming is just a bit of fun, I guess," he said.

"To be doing it on home soil is even better because we don't have to travel as far. I am as relaxed as I was in Rio so we'll see how it goes."

Australia's Dutch head coach Jacco Verhaeren endorsed Chalmers' approach of not worrying about the competition.

"We're not particularly looking at England, South Africa, Canada, surely not Kyle, who is not looking at anyone, so that's good," Verhaeren said.

"I do think that's the best process, just to stick to yourself and race.

"It doesn't matter who you race really, you have your own lane, you have your own training plan, and your own competition plan and if we stick to that we'll be good."

Australia have a rich history in the 100m freestyle at the Commonwealth Games with Ian Thorpe (2002), Michael Klim (1998), James Magnussen (2014) and Michael Wenden (1966-70-74) among the winners of the event.

Chalmers will also be swimming in the 200m event after setting a personal best of one minute 46.49 seconds at the national team selection trials last month.