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PERKINS Kieren home page







Men's 1500m Freestyle


Date of birth:

14 Aug 1973




194 cm / 6'4"


90 kgs / 198 lbs

Birth place:

Brisbane - Queensland (Australia)


Brisbane - Queensland (Australia)

Marital status:







Coach since:



Major achievements:

1st - 1500m Freestyle - 14:58.92 - Pan Pacific Championships - Atlanta, United States of America - 1995
2nd - 1500m Freestyle - 15:11.50 - Australian Olympic Selection Trials - Sydney, Australia - 1996
3rd - 1500m Freestyle - 15:03.00 - Commonwealth Games - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - 1998
2nd - 1500m Freestyle - 15:07.10 - US Open Championships - San Antonio, United States of America - 1999
2nd - 1500m Freestyle - 15:01.1 - Australian Olympic Selection Trials - Sydney, Australia - 2000


At the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, Kieren PERKINS defied the odds by coming from lane 8 to win his second consecutive 1500m Freestyle Olympic title. At 27, he is aiming to be the first man to win 3 consecutive Olympic gold medals. PERKINS is the first swimmer in history to be the Olympic, world, Commonwealth and Pan Pacific champion simultaneously. He is the world record holder for the 1500m Freestyle , a standard which he set at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada.




Spending time with family, boating, motorcycling and going to the movies.

Amusing sporting event:


Major injuries:

PERKINS was almost forced out of the Atlanta Olympics 1500m Freestyle final in 1996 because of a rib cage problem. While preparing for a Grand Prix meet in Brisbane in July of this year, he sprained a vertebral joint and was unable to swim freestyle for a couple of weeks. He missed the meet as a result.



Memorable achievement:


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Why this sport:

Began swimming as an 8 year old at school. Joined coach John CAREW's swim school for rehabilitation after running through a glass door at home, an accident which required over 60 stitches.

Most influential person:


Most admired person:




Major awards:

1994 Swimming World Male Swimmer of the Year.

1992 - 1994 Australian Swimmer of the Year, 1992 Young Australian of the Year, 1993 Order of Australia Medal, 1994 FINA Award.

General interests:


PERKINS never wanted to be a famous swimmer and dreamed instead of being a jockey .

In 1991 at the age of 17, PERKINS completed his High School Certificate at Brisbane Boys College. He was a prefect at the school, and listed a career in architecture as something he wanted to pursue after graduating.

PERKINS had trouble learning the sport of swimming, and hated swimming underwater - so much, that his coach would walk along the pool deck pushing his head down with a broomstick.


Barcelona 1992 - Barcelona was a whirlwind for me. I was like the kid in the lolly shop, I just walked around with my mouth open all the time. I was a little bit nervous, but there was never a moment when I thought: I'm not going to get this one .

Atlanta 1996 - Words can't describe the feeling. It was difficult winning the gold in Barcelona in 1992 but winning again was a thousand times harder. Sitting behind the starting blocks I was 100 per cent focused and I knew I just had to let my instincts take over.


After narrowly scraping into the Australian 1998 Commonwealth Games team, PERKINS said, After the Atlanta Olympics I sat down and thought about whether I wanted to keep swimming. I decided I would if I could do it on my own terms and only if I enjoy what I'm doing. I had five months off after Atlanta and that has really affected my fitness. But now things are back on track.

Kieren took the rest of the year off after Atlanta but in January 1997 he jumped back in the pool: If I can come away from my third Olympic Games as the first man to win three successive 1500m titles then I will have achieved the ultimate in my sport. That is definitely worth aiming for. To compete in my home country in an Olympics would be the ultimate in my career. The hard work and training is part of the deal.

Late in 1996 Kieren decided to keep swimming and concentrate on the Sydney 2000 Olympics: I set myself a goal to go to three Olympics and win three gold medals. It would have been very easy for me to retire after the Games, to go away with two Olympic gold medals, to have really proven myself internationally. To say, Well I have done it, thank you very much and good night'. But it's Sydney, it's your home country. It's not just Sydney's Olympics, it's Australia's Olympics.


PERKINS is the first swimmer in history to hold Olympic, world, Commonwealth and Pan Pacific titles simultaneously.

Swimming World magazine ranked Kieren the 6th greatest swimmer of the 20th century, as well as the greatest swimmer of the 1990's. On the greatest of the century list, all those ahead of him had already finished their careers.

At the 1998 Commonwealth Games Kieren was chosen as the Australian flag-bearer at the opening ceremony. Kieren was genuinely surprised at being given this honour, when he was called to be told the news he thought he must be getting into trouble! At a press conference he said To be honest, I'm still stunned. I really didn't even think I was in with a chance.


I still shudder every time I look at a swimming programme and see birthdates in the 80s. I mean, I remember the 80s, I was there. Kieren PERKINS talking about the new generation of swimmers.

At the end of the day, having number one against my name is more important than the time I swim.

Daniel KOWALSKI on Kieren in 1998: I think you look at any successful team, like the Chicago Bulls. Without Michael JORDAN the Chicago Bulls are not as good. That's the kind of person Kieren is. Without him the Australian team is not as good. He has that aura about him. He does incredible things and that brings out the best in everyone.

PERKINS refuses to watch a replay of his 2000 Olympic trials 1500m Freestyle race. I don't need to see how bad it was. I know how bad I went. The time was slow, my turns were terrible, my stroke was average. I am always my own hardest critic. When you are trying to attain perfection you can't be satisfied with mediocre performances.

Content provided by SOCOG.

News Headlines

Big-name swimmers make Sydney their "farewell" Games


Women's 50m Freestyle: Perkins upstages De Bruijn


Men's 1500m Freestyle: Perkins makes flying start to title defence


Men's 1500m Freestyle: Time for THE race in the pool the 1500m


Men's 1500m Freestyle: Perkins going for third consecutive gold


Family life's the life for PERKINS

Men's 1500m Freestyle: Perkins pursues third triumph

Kieren PERKINS News Archive

Related Links


Countries: Australia

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