Swimming // Athlete Bio // 2 of 3
Kieren Perkins
(KEER-in)

Record album
After the 1992 Olympics, Perkins stayed out of the pool for four months. He says he was burnt out and not in shape; he gained more than 30 pounds and didn't come back to form until nearly two years later, when he embarked on a record-setting spree at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, British Columbia. There, he set world records in the 800 (7:46.00) and 1500 (14:41.66) free ... on the same day. Perkins broke the world 400 free record 16 days later in Rome -- in the same lane of the same pool in which his boyhood idol, Murray Rose, won the 400 free Olympic gold for Australia in 1960. Perkins became the first Australian since John Konrads in 1960 to hold three swimming world records simultaneously.

Pool of blood
At age 9, Perkins took up swimming to rehabilitate his leg, which he injured during a game of "Tiggy" -- the Australian equivalent of tag -- with brother Jared. Kieren ran through a plate-glass door, and a piece of glass cut his left calf muscle in half, nearly severing an artery. He hit the door with such force that the neighbors thought there had been an explosion. Parents Gloria and Kevin rushed him to a nearby hospital, where he received 86 stitches.

Gloom and broom
Following the accident, Perkins did not like his swimming rehab program and wouldn't put his head under water. An instructor had to walk along the side of the pool, pushing Perkinsí head below the surface with a broomstick.

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