The Daily Telegraph 26/07/93
The extraordinary Kieren Perkins picked the strangest way of showing his lack of fitness and his dislike for 25m pools by smashing the world 800m shortcourse world record at the Warringah Aquatic Centre yesterday.
Just 10 days after setting a new world mark in the 1500m in Auckland, Perkins clocked 7min 34.90sec to wipe 3.85 sec off the 1985 record of German great Michael Gross.
"I find it hard to settle into my rhythm in short pools and I'm still not 100% fit," Perkins said on the eve of the meet.
Perkins had not even shaved, tapered or rested for the event.
The Olympic champion also picked an unusual method of establishing his record, claiming it on his way to winning the 1500m in the final event of the 4th and last Telstra Grand Prix meet.
"I asked the announcer to call out the time after 400m and if I was under 3:48 I decided I'd go for the 800m record," Perkins revealed.
He was 3 seconds inside that time and even though the fans didn't know Perkins' tactics they sensed history.
"The crowd support was fabulous and even though I couldn't make out anything specific I knew something good was happening," said Perkins, who was given a prolonged standing ovation after the event.
Amazingly, Perkins could have swum fractionally faster if he hadn't looked at the scoreboard clock several times during the race.
After touching at the 800m mark he took a long look then celebrated with a majestic porpoise-like victory roll before getting on with the next 700m.
Despite the toll of his mighty 800m effort he still bettered 15min by clocking 14:49.18.
Despite Perkins not being in good form when he swam it, his world record still stands, the oldest men's shortcourse record in the book. No one else has got within 4 seconds.
ARTICLE INDEX - HOME - NEXT ARTICLE - PREVIOUS ARTICLE