1994 Commonwealth Games and World Championships

Happy Kieren at a training session at the 1994 Commonwealth Games

200m Freestyle MEN

Gold

PERKINS, Kieren

AUSTRALIA

1:49.31 NGR08/19/94

Silver

BRAY, Trent

NEW ZEALAND

1:49.47

Bronze

LOADER, Danyon

NEW ZEALAND

1:49.53

4x200m Freestyle MEN

Gold

AUSTRALIA

  7:20.80 NGR 08/20/94

 GLEN HOUSEMAN, MATTHEW DUNN, MARTIN ROBERTS, KIEREN PERKINS

400m Freestyle MEN

Gold

PERKINS, Kieren

AUSTRALIA

3:45.77 NGR 08/22/94

Silver

LOADER, Danyon

NEW ZEALAND

 3:49.65

Bronze

KOWALSKI, Daniel

AUSTRALIA

3:50.41

The Commonwealth Games and World Championships in 1994 were the most successful period of Kieren's career to date. He broke 3 world records in 16 days, and won 6 major titles. In the 1500m event he held every major title and record, including Olympic, World, Commonwealth and Pan Pacific, and is the only person to ever hold all 4 titles for the same event.

Kieren began his world record breaking spree at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada.

Winning a Commonwealth Games gold medal is no easy task. But Kieren Perkins can do it with his eyes shut.

Kieren's first event was the 200m freestyle, a race he uses only to warm up for the longer distances. He took the lead, but was closely followed by New Zealanders Trent Bray and Danyon Loader.  Kieren put his head down and closed his eyes.

"I touched the wall and had absolutely no idea where I was. For a fleeting moment when I did open my eyes I was worried. I just thought, which hand?"

Kieren chose the right hand, and collected Commonwealth gold #1 in Games record time.

Next day was the 4x200m freestyle relay. Kieren swam the final leg, zooming past Danyon Loader to grab gold for the Australian team. Again, it was a Games record.

Now Kieren was getting to his serious events. He swam a brilliant race in the 400m, below world record pace. Kieren was tantilisingly close, but missed the world mark by just 0.77 seconds. Kieren was surprised - he hadn't known he was going that fast! The world record would have to wait 2 weeks.

On the last day of the meet it was Kieren's best event, the 1500m freestyle, and as world record holder, he was firm favourite for the gold. Kieren woke up that morning, and he felt fantastic!

"I woke up that morning and I thought, I want to break a world record, and I want to break a 1500m world record."

 

However Kieren's training was being honed for the World Championships in 2 weeks time. Nonetheless, Kieren and his coach John Carew decided 10min before the race that Kieren would break the 800m world record, then slow down and just swim to win.

The spectators were about to witness one of the most exciting swims of all time. Even before 25m was swum Perkins was almost ½ a bodylength ahead.

By the 100m mark he already had a 1½ second lead. He went through 400m in 3:50.37- almost 4 seconds ahead of his rivals, and faster than Daniel Kowalski had won the bronze in the 400 earlier that week. He went through 800m in a new world record of 7:46.00, slicing 0.6 seconds of his previous world record. He was now almost 8 seconds ahead of 2nd placed Daniel Kowalski.

If Kieren had listened to his coach, he would have slowed down after 800m. But Kieren did not slow down, instead he swam faster.

"I thought 'oh, I'll get in trouble if I don't slow down a bit', and I wrestled with it for 25m and then just kept going, much to Mr Carew's dismay. I just couldn't help it..."

By 1000m he was almost 10 seconds in front of Daniel Kowalski and on track for another world record.

Kieren kept going, and having lapped the swimmers in lanes 1, 7 and 8, won by 25m in a new world record of 14:41.66, almost 2 seconds faster than his old world record and 12 seconds faster than 2nd placed Daniel Kowalski (who became the 3rd fastest man ever over the distance).  Kieren was the first person in 45 years to break 2 world records in the one swim.

   Kieren after breaking both the 800 and 1500m world records in the same swim!

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