The Age, 25/08/94

"What a beautiful feeling"

 

By PATRICK SMITH

 

Happy Kieren after breaking 2 world records in the one swim.Kieren Perkins dived deep into the warm-down pool where the noise of the crowd and loud-speakers could not penetrate. ``I smiled. I thought what a beautiful feeling ... I am just so happy.''

Don't you doubt that Perkins can smile underwater. His double world- record swim at the Commonwealth Games last night proved there is almost nothing he cannot do in a pool.

The first record to fall in one of the greatest swims in history was the 800 metres standard. He clipped six-tenths of a second off his own record set in Sydney in 1992. Then he set after the 1500 metres record that he set at the Barcelona Games the same year. He touched the wall in 14 minutes 41.66 seconds, 1.82 seconds faster than ever before.

The 800 metres record was planned, the 1500 was not. ``Before the race my coach, Mr (John) Carew, said to go out hard for the 800-metre record but ease it back after that. Much to his dismay I decided to keep going. I felt good and I knew I was well and truly on world record pace. It was just too difficult to slow down.'' Kevin Sheedy would have dragged him for such disobedience.

``Before the race a couple of our guys said to me if I get to the 1200-metre mark and they are still going crazy, don't slow down. I knew by the way they were acting I must have been pretty close and I snuck a look at the board a couple of times and I knew I wasn't far off. I couldn't help it. I just had to keep going.''

When he spun around after finishing to see the electronic timing board, he leapt, arms raised, fists clenched. World records can do that to you.

He was joined - though it took some time - by fellow Australians Daniel Kowalski (14:53.61) and Glen Housman (15:02.59), who celebrated his record and Australia's gold, silver, bronze finish.

After barely half-a-lap of last night's race, Perkins had an arm's length lead. A lap later it was a body length, two laps more and the race - as a contest - was dead in the water. It became a dash for the record and after each lap it was announced Perkins was under world- record time.

The crowd roared encouragement and the cheer squads from other countries urged on Perkins, too.

After his victory, Perkins did TV interviews, posed with security staff and well-wishers as friends took happy snaps, and signed autographs. The medal presentation was delayed so he could stand with his teammates and cheer on the Australians in the last race of the Games.


 

The Sydney Morning Herald, 25/08/94

Perkins disobeys his way into history

By JACQUELIN MAGNAY

 

Kieren on the podiumJust how good is the amazing Kieren Perkins?

His coach, John Carew, was annoyed that Perkins defied his instructions to back off the pace after breaking the 800 metres world record - only to go on and smash the 1500 metres world mark with a time of 14 minutes 41.66 seconds.

But Carew, whose first words to Perkins were "What did you do that for?" has predicted that the phenomenal Australian swimmer will crack the records yet again at the world swimming championships in Rome next month.

The crucial question is by how much?

Carew has long said that Perkins, the Barcelona Olympic champion, will one day set a time for the 1500 in the 14:30s. But he tempered that prediction by saying that such a time would be a little while off yet.

Still, Perkins, Carew and head swimming coach Don Talbot were of the considered opinion that something less than his emotion-charged winning time here would be achievable.

The Queensland swimmer was given a standing ovation by the 3000-strong crowd, and walked through a guard of honor formed by virtually the entire Australian team before stepping on to the victory dais to accept his fourth Gold medal of the Games.

Perkins, 21, cracked his own 800 metres world record by six-tenths of a second to set the new mark at 7:46.00.

That was the plan agreed on by Perkins and Carew just 10 minutes before the start, but it was also planned that Perkins would then ease off and cruise home ahead of his fellow Australians, Daniel Kowalski and Glen Houseman.

"I told him to have a go at the 800 record but then to slow down and just swim to win," Carew said. "It's the first time he's disobeyed me. I'll have a talk to him about it."

In explanation, Perkins said he felt strong and comfortable after breaking the 800 metres mark.

"I turned and I was feeling good, but I thought, `Oh, I'll get into trouble if I don't drop off the pace a little bit', but I wrestled with it for about 25 metres and just went for it - much to Mr Carew's dismay. It was just too difficult to slow down."

He was on world record pace from the start and blitzed the initial 100 metres in an astounding 54.81 seconds. Even more amazing was the fact that his time over the 400 metres nearly matched that clocked by Kowalski when he finished third behind Perkins in the 400 metres freestyle two days earlier - 3:50.41.

"It is a pretty phenomenal swim in anyone's language," Talbot said.

But Perkins plans to go even faster in Rome on 11 September.

Carew said this would depend on his recovery in the next two days, but he acknowledged that a large of the preparation would be mental.

"When his confidence is up he can do anything," Carew said. "We saw that before when he got on a roll and broke several world records in succession in 1992.

"After the 400 metres here, where he showed that he was swimming so well, we decided to go for the 800 metres world record.

Perkins looked remarkably refreshed after the swim, but he assured a packed press conference that it was an illusion.

"Muscular wise, my arms and shoulders are pretty sore right now, but there is too much adrenalin flowing for it to hurt too much," he said.

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