Kieren unveils his grand masterplan...

August 23, 1991 - The Courier Mail

Kieren set for a spot in history

EDMONTON: Kieren Perkins, Australia's fastest distance swimmer, tomorrow sets out on a mission to establish himself as one of the greatest swimmers the world has ever seen.

Where most just-turned-18 year olds are concerned, longterm planning usually extends no further than organising a party one week in advance, but Perkins has mapped out a campaign which he hopes will have him closing his swimming career at the 2000 Olympics recognised as a legend in the sport.

His attempt tomorrow on Vladimir Salnikov's 800m freestyle world record at the Pan Pacs is not just an end in itself, but an opening shot in his campaign.

"My aim is to compete in 3 Olympics and win the 1500m in each one," said Perkins. "There is no point in being in this game if you're not going to make your mark in it. I don't want to do what Johnno (Siben) and Duncan (Armstrong) did, of winning 1 Olympic gold. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely admire what they did but who are people going to remember - someone who won 1 Olympic gold, or someone who won 3?"

The determined young Queenslander, only 2sec adrift of Salnikov's 800m mark, has beaten 1 world record in his short career, yet a careful search of the record books will find no trace of his greatest swim.

He cleared more than 4.5 seconds of Sanikov's legendary 1983 1500m freestyle world record of 14:54.76 with his swim at the Perth world titles in January, only for German Jorg Hoffman to swim 0.22 seconds faster. "That was the highest high of my life and the worst low, all at the same time," Perkins said.

If he does manage to keep his planned appointment with history tomorrow he may have another Australian keeping him company. Adelaide's Phil Rogers is aiming for a world record in the same session of swimming in the 100m breastroke.


Kieren missed the 800m world mark by 0.04 sec, but shattered it en-route to winning the 1500m a few days later. He has already achieved 2/3 of his ultimate goal, becoming only the 2nd person in 100 years to win back-to-back 1500m Olympic golds, as well as winning practically everything between, and looks set to attempt to defend his title in Sydney 2000. Perkins is generally regarded as the greatest distance swimmer of all time, and Australia's greatest male swimmer of the 20th century. No male swimmer has ever won 3 consecutive Olympic golds in the same event.