More Olympic Perkins tickets (07/05/00)
Perkins' 400m swim issues message to rivals (17/04/00)
Perkins' experience will get him to gold (10/04/00)
Kieren takes a bite out of shark suit (25/03/00)
Perkins' injury not a worry (18/03/00)
Olympic trials race is Perkin' up (05/03/00)
Perkins pinpoints trials target (21/02/00)
Kieren at OneSummer (06/02/00)
Perkins among Olympic torchbearers (25/01/00)
Perkins at Sydney World Cup (18/01/00)
Kieren at QLD State Championships (14/01/00)
1500m 'showdown' on hold (04/01/00)
More Olympic Perkins tickets
More tickets will be released across all Olympic session in May, and that includes the 1500m freestyle on September 23. Kieren is sure to want as many of his fans as possible at the Aquatic Centre to help him win gold, however you'd better get in quick as there are only around 950 tickets available, including 437 in the A category. Tickets will be sold for the swimming on May 10 (Wednesday) via news Ltd. newspapers, (The Daily Telegraph etc.). Less popular events (eg. heats) will be sold via an order form in the newspaper, more popular (eg. finals) by ringing a phone number in the newspaper. Failing to get tickets to the final, it is possible some may come back from the contingency allotment, however you might want to see the 1500m heats session in the morning of September 22, for which over 1500 tickets remain.
If you got today's (Sunday) News Ltd. newspaper with the Olympics ticket liftout be sure to check the message from Tanya Blencowe, who is a major Perkins fan. :)
In an ominous sign for his rivals, Kieren Perkins has set his fastest 400m freestyle time for four years in his last race before the all-important Olympic trials next month.
Kieren won the 400m at the low-key Noosa meet in 3m52.44s - not a time to frighten Ian Thorpe, but Perkins is training solely for the 1500m, and it is yet more evidence he will be a force in it at the trials. The time is faster than he swam at the last Olympic Trials in 1996, and is particularly heartening since he is in heavy training leading up to the trials.
"Kieren was quite happy with it," Perkins' coach, John Carew said. "He was away on his own and felt he had a bit left. He went through the first 100m in 55.66s which is what we will be looking for in the 1500m at trials, so it shows he's getting a bit of speed."
Perkins' experience will get him to gold
BRISBANE, April 10 AAP - Kieren Perkins says he won his first Olympic gold medal on a wave of youthful exuberance, his second on bluff and will bank on experience to sweep him to an historic third in Sydney this year.
The 26-year-old admits the older he gets, the harder he needs to flog his body in training to get results.
But the lure of another Olympic gold medal in his swansong performance is enough to keep his mind on the job in a way that nothing else has been able to in the past four years.
A unique place in Olympic swimming history is on the line with no man so far capable of winning the same event at 3 consecutive Games in the way Dawn Fraser did in the 100m freestyle between 1956 and 1964 and Hungarian Krisztina Egerszegi dominated the 200m backstroke between 1988 and 1996.
No swimming event is tougher than the gruelling 1500m freestyle, however Perkins became only the 2nd man in history to defend his title in the event, winning it in 1992 and 1996.
With the end of his career in sight, Perkins said he had committed himself to training like never before to fulfil his Olympic dream.
"I haven't been doing a whole lot other than swimming," said Perkins, who has spoken about emulating Fraser for most of the past decade.
"I guess it's really a situation that because it's the Olympic Games and because it's so important you just put a whole lot more into it for that reason.
"You tend to get a bit more out of yourself and you're less likely to back off if things are hurting a little bit because it's more important to you to keep going.
"I don't think I've changed anything that I'm doing except that I'm probably doing everything a little bit harder, concentrating a little bit more and making sure everything's right.
"I wouldn't want to walk away from this wondering `what if?'
"I will be making sure that I put 100 per cent into it so that when it's all over I can say I've done a good job."
Perkins concedes he's not the same swimmer that won 1500m freestyle gold in Barcelona in 1992 as an 18-year-old.
"Going into Barcelona ... I was running full steam ahead without having to think too much about what I was doing," he said.
"I was young and confident. Everything was going 100 per cent well and you can do no wrong almost. You're just on that roll of youthful enthusiasm.
"Now, it's a completely different story. I'm obviously not as strong coming into the Olympic trials this time around.
"I'm having to work harder to get the results. My training has had to change because of differences in fitness and age."
But Perkins' powers of self-belief refuse to allow him to give up his Olympic crown to Grant Hackett without an almighty fight.
"Grant's got youthful enthusiasm. I've got experience," Perkins said.
"Each of those things will play their part in the success that either of us get."
Perkins' experience as a shrewd race tactician produced arguably his most memorable race in Atlanta in 1996.
After only just scraping into the final by 0.23s, the Queenslander surged to an easy victory from lane eight over Daniel Kowalski and Scotland's Graeme Smith.
Four years on, he says he won the race on tactics and bluff.
"I knew that tactically if I was able to get in front of the other guys and get a commanding lead early on it would throw them off and that I would have a better chance of maybe demoralising them and coming up with the result," he said.
"It was a gamble that I used and it paid off. If it had come down to a sprint over the last few hundred metres the other guys probably would have killed me.
"Because I was able to make the break I basically bluffed them into thinking that I was swimming back to my best."
Making the Olympic team as a 1500m freestyle swimmer this time around is expected to be tougher than at any other time in Perkins' career.
Only two swimmers can be selected to swim the event with Hackett, Perkins, Kowalski and Sydney teenager Craig Stevens all considered a chance - and maybe even Ian Thorpe if he decides to give the gruelling 30-lap race a go.
While Perkins had to fight for selection at the trials for the Atlanta Games after missing out on the 400m freestyle, he admitted today he probably did not take them seriously enough going in.
"I probably took those trials a little bit for granted and sort of felt I would walk onto the team and that wasn't the case," he said. "The competition's pretty tough this year. I've got to make sure I am ready because if I'm not I won't make the team."
The Olympic trials will be staged at the Sydney International Aquatic Centre from May 13-20.
Kieren takes a bite out ofshark suit
Speedo's new Fastskin 'shark suit' was recently released to much controversy, and today Kieren had the experience of racing a Fastskinned rival.
Speedo's new full-length suit is modelled on the skin of a shark, and according to Speedo will give a 6 metre advantage over a 200m race, or a 3% faster time overall. If this is true, then if Kieren had worn the suit when he set his current 1500m world record, he would have swum 25 seconds faster - almost a lap ahead. The suit is clearly performance enhancing, far more than the Adidas full length suit. However it is legal - based on FINA's rules that if the suit does not have webbed hands or feet, and does not float when plunged into a tank of water, it is allowed.
Kieren must not have been happy with being beaten over 400m by the shark-suited Grant Hackett at the low key Miami club meet (Hackett is sponsored by Speedo). Perkins himself wore the ordinary suit. He has tried out the Adidas suit in competition, but feels this one has gone too far. Kieren has tried and tried unsuccessfully to get hold of a Fastskin suit, but was denied it because he is not sponsored by Speedo.
"I don't think they should be part of the sport," he said. "Swimming is about athletes racing each other. It's not about those with the best scientists racing each other. It's almost the beginnings of a new sport."
Perkins said he felt cornered and would have to wear a body suit to remain competitive. "I'd have to wear one. I'm not going to give my opponents a clear advantage for purely ethical reasons," he said, predicting the suits would cause world records to tumble.
"They have a very positive effect on the way you swim. They make you faster, they improve your endurance and they aid buoyancy," he said. "The disparity between current records and future and records creates a situation where it is a different era and a different sport."
"As it stands at the moment it is impossible to get a Speedo suit and it's going to create a situation where there's those that have and those that have not and I don't believe that's fair or right in this sport," he said.
Perkins added that it would be impossible for Speedo to fit all of the athletes in time for the trials.
"The suits don't come in standard form, they have to be skin tight in every square centimetre of your body and none of us have the same bodies," he said.
"If the suit is too big it's a disadvantage. They have to be custom made and that process takes weeks, if not months to do."
In response, Hackett spoke not of the suit, but launched a stinging attack on Perkins, branding him a "selfish competitor" and "a loser".
Kieren clocked 3:58.49, a respectable time at such a low-key meet, especially considering he's in very heavy work.
Perkins' injury not a worry
This weekend (March 25) Kieren will compete in the Miami Club carnival on the Gold Coast, racing some middle distance events against Grant Hackett, Daniel Kowalski, Ky Hurst and Japanese Masato Hirano.
Kieren has been kept out of the water with a shoulder injury the last 5 days however his coach John Carew says although it's not the best preparation it will not disrupt his Olympic Trials performance. Kieren has had the injury for at least 2 years but it has never kept him out of the water so long.
"I don't think the five days would harm him at this stage, he's in very heavy work so it wouldn't really harm him, no. It's certainly a little setback but not a major one," he said.
Olympic trials race is Perkin' up
Kieren's coach John Carew has pronounced him on track for the Olympic trials and Denis Cotterell, coach of Grant Hackett and Daniel Kowalski, is still very wary of Perkins.
When asked whether he would be backing Kieren to win gold at the Olympics, Carew said "Let's deal with first things first. Our focus is to make the team. I want to jump that fence first. Once he gets through the trails we can worry about winning gold."
Make it through the trials? Cotterall has backed Perkins to do something special when under the cut-throat pressure of the Trials in May.
"Daniel Kowalski is a doubtful starter. Ian Thorpe faces a huge ask jumping from 100m to 1500m. Craig Stevens and Stephen Penfold are talented but will find it tough going. With the exception of Grant it will be a pretty difficult task for anyone to get on top of Kieren at trials."
Denis Cotterall has almost given up on Daniel Kowalski making the 1500m and says Kowalski will target the 200 instead.
Perkins sparkles when he talks of his form. "I am confident I can not only make the team but I can win [the Olympic gold]. I wouldn't be saying this unless I thought I could do it."
Two months from the trials, Carew is happy. "As long as he has no setbacks or sickness he will be very competitive," he said.
"He will improve but I won't know if he is back to his absolute best until we get into the taper. He is a much bigger man now. He has more weight to pull through the water [4kg] - that is not fat, just muscle. But it makes a fair bit of difference."
"His life has changed since Atlanta. He wasn't married then. He now has 2 children but has handled it very well. He doesn't seem to be having problems training hard."
Perkins' most recent public appearance was at the launch of one of many sets of clothes for the Australian Olympic team. Kieren and fellow swimmer Sam Riley made a flying 4-hour visit from Brisbane to Sydney to try their hand at modelling along with some of Sydney's athletes. The athletes were relieved with the clothes, "It's a really good look," Perkins said. "We'll be the best looking team around. You'd be proud to wear it."
Asked what was the difference between this and uniforms of past Olympics, a voice from behind Perkins said: "You can actually walk down the street in this one."
The clothes are certainly better than some of the articles of the past, including a pair of pants in 1992 which Perkins and Riley had fun cutting up with scissors afterwards.
Perkins has watched with interest Ian Thorpe's battle to wear his Adidas full-length suit instead of the equivalent Speedo suit by the Olympic team's sponsor. Despite Speedo's claims that 'all current Australian world record holders' were wearing Speedo's equivalent, triple world record holder Perkins has tried out the Adidas suit in competition, and says he will consider wearing it if Thorpe is allowed to.
Kieren is currently swimming 80km a week. Friday 10 March he contested a small local 1500m race in the Brisbane Open Championships at Nudgee College in Brisbane. Of course Kieren easily won this race, clocking 15:43 to overwhelmingly outclass the 2nd place getter's 16:19.
Perkinspinpoints trials target
21/02/00, sourced from The Daily Telegraph
Dual Olympic champ Kieren Perkins has earmarked the Australian Olympic team trials as the race he will break the 14:50 barrier.
Just 3 months out from the trials he believes he will have to achieve this time to make the team and defend his Olympic title in September.
"I want to get under 14:50 which is going to be a big jump for me...it's going to be a tough race for me to get down to that sort of time."
"But that is where I would like to be and I think that is going to be a quick enough time to make the team."
"It may seem like a lot of time to take off but I look at it from a personal best viewpoint and I haven't really had the opportunity to swim to the level I could over the past couple of years."
"If I can get to the trials without getting sick or getting any injuries I can achieve this."
Although uncertain of his ability to defeat Grant Hackett at the trials, Perkins thinks he will be able to by the Games.
The most important thing, he said, was not to be overly concerned about his performance at trials. Instead, he said, he needed to use the meet as an integral part of his Olympics preparation.
The One Summer sports festival wrapped up this with its final leg at Manly this weekend. The event features a range of sports including triathlon, ironman, beach volleyball - and swimming.
Kieren was in town for an event organised by his sponsor - the Perkins-Hackett challenge. A temporary aluminium 25m pool had been erected on the beach for the swimming events. Kieren and Grant were to swim alone together in the pool, over 2x200m legs with a 2min break in between.
Someone should have mentioned that Kieren's no good at 200m shortcourse - or any shortcourse for that matter - but Perkins was just there to have a lot of fun.
"With this kind of atmosphere it's a bit hard to take it seriously," grinned Kieren to a Hawaiian-shirted sports commentator, also mentioning "My training's going well, I'm on the upward curve, so hopefully I should shock a few people at Olympic Trials."
Perkins smiled and chatted to Hackett as they mounted the blocks. He was narrowly beaten - mostly losing on the turns - but left with his pride intact, as well as $750.
The next day poolside Australia's top swimmers were messing around with gold paint for a sponsor promotion. Kieren was spotted sporting a large set of Olympic rings on his chest - gold of course!
Kieren has no more confirmed meets until Olympic Trials, however he is likely to go to some local meets in Brisbane between now and May.
Perkins among Olympictorchbearers
25/01/00, Sourced from AP
Australian sporting heroes Kieren Perkins and golfer Greg Norman were two of the bigger names on the list of 10,000 Olympic torchbearers unveiled today.
It is unclear which leg of the relay Perkins will run. Many suspect he will run one of the final legs inside the Olympic stadium, and perhaps even light the flame itself.
Greg Norman said at a press conference today he felt either Kieren Perkins or Shane Gould should light the flame.
The identity of the final torchbearer will be kept secret until minutes before it is lit at 8pm on September 15.
Perkins' rival, Olympic silver medallist Daniel Kowalski gets to run a leg, but his arch rival Grant Hackett does not appear to have been named.
Perkinsat Sydney World Cup
Kieren Perkins is contesting the Sydney leg of the World Cup, which is held in a shortcourse (25m) pool.
Perkins, described by his coach as a rhythm swimmer not suited to shortcourse racing (although he has broken 3 shortcourse world records), said he would use the World Cup to work on some flaws in his stroke identified during the Queensland titles.
"I just want to try and swim quicker than I have over the past few years, work on some of the things that aren't going as well as I'd like them to and have some hard racing," he said.
Kieren will contest the 200, 400 and 1500m freestyle, up against his rivals Hackett and Kowalski.
Mon 17th, Kieren contested the 400m heats, finishing 2nd behind shortcourse specialist Rossilino - who was the final's fastest qualifier. Kieren led for 150m, but lost ground on the turns. Kieren faced Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett, and Daniel Kowalski in the final. He finished 4th with 3:47.08 - behind Thorpe, Hackett and Rossilino, but ahead of Kowalski. Perkins was pleased with his swim, his best in the 400m shortcourse for a while.
"That was a much better swim. I'm improving a lot all the time. That's a lot faster than I've been in a long, long time. Hopefully tomorrow I can pull out a better time in the 1500 and also the 200."
And so Kieren did. He almost won his 200m heat clocking 1:50.69, but missed by a touch. In the 1500m freestyle that night Kieren won the silver in 14:43.10, behind Grant Hackett (who failed by 6 sec in his 800m shortcourse record bid, and wilted to finish 10sec further off the pace) but almost a lap and a half ahead of the other swimmers in the race including Penfold, Stevens and Kowalski. At the medal presentation and on the victory lap after, it was Kieren who got the most cheers.
After the race, Kieren said he was pleased with his swim. He also spoke of the Olympics, a subject on which he can speak with authority.
"It's interesting for someone like me and Susie [O"Neill], sitting here and watching, it's like history repeating itself," he said. "We [Australia] came away from the Pan Pacs in 1995 ranked as the No2 country in the world, then at the Olympics we won only two gold medals. And there is the potential for that to happen again here in Sydney.
"The Olympics is totally different to anything else. Everybody wants to win the Olympic Games, and it doesn't matter what country the Games are in, everybody is just as prepared and everybody wants it just as bad.
"In 1992 at Barcelona, seven men competed as world record holders in their event, and six of them got beaten [except Perkins]. People just don't realise that the Olympics are so different to anything else. The world championships are easy. The Commonwealth Games, easy. The Pan Pacs, easy. All meets are easy compared to the Olympics. It's like comparing the Melbourne Cup to race five at Oodnadatta on a Friday afternoon."
Photos I took of Kieren at World Cup
Sound Clip of Kieren and Susie O'Neill (needs Microsoft Media Player) from ABC Online
Kierenat QLD State Championships
Kieren is competing at the QLD State Championships. Also there are his rivals Kowalski and Hackett. Kieren will contest the 200, 400 and 800m freestyle but he and Hackett are unlikely to contest the 1500. Kieren has not bothered resting for this meet.
The QLD Swimming Association has announced a new QLD Swimming Hall of Fame, but Kieren, undoubtably Queensland's greatest ever swimmer, cannot be inducted yet. The criteria means inductees must be retired for 2 years before they can be nominated. Perkins will have to wait until 2003...
Tuesday 11 Jan, Kieren competed in the 200m heats, qualifying for the final along with Hackett and Kowalski. Perkins has never regarded the 200m as his event, using it as a warmup for the longer races, although he has won several Commonwealth and Australian titles over the distance. Kieren clocked a credible 1:52.16 in the final.
Kieren said, "My goal has always been the Olympics in 2000, and suddenly it is 2000. It brings a sense of urgency to everything we do and that's good." The meet also sees the return of Kieren's training partner, 1991 world champ Hayley Lewis, who last night won her first medal since she retired in 1996.
Both Perkins and Kowalski have said they will consider joining the IOC Athletes Commission when they quit swimming. The Athletes Commission has finally been given power to vote on issues under recent IOC reforms.
"If I had the opportunity to be involved I definitely would," Perkins said.
"A ballot is taken at each Olympics for the athletes commission.
"I'll put my name forward this time around. I thought about it in Atlanta but I didn't because I felt that I was going to keep competing."
Kieren won silver in the 800, behind Hackett but ahead of Kowalski. Grant failed dismally in his world record attempt, missing by more than 6sec.
Kieren Perkins has joined the growing list of Australian swimmers and coaches who believe Chinese competitors are taking performance-enhancing drugs in the lead-up to the Sydney Games.
One Australian coach came away from the World Cup meeting in Shanghai last week suspicious that the fast times recorded by Chinese swimmers indicated they are again using drugs.
Perkins says it is a case of history repeating itself.
"It happened before Atlanta and it's happened here again in the lead-up to Sydney," he said.
"The Chinese team has been very quiet over the last couple of years and now that we're nine months out from the Olympic Games all of a sudden they've got these unknown athletes who are doing exceptionally well.
"It's very hard not to be a bit cynical and skeptical of the performances that they do."
Kieren farewelled his home Brisbane crowd with a silver in the 400. He was very pleased as he has not really bothered with the 400 since he last broke the world record in it in 1994.
Perkins clocked his best time in several years for the 400m freestyle, registering 3min:52.76sec at the Chandler Aquatic Centre.
Kieren has pinpointed some major areas for improvement in the leadup to the Olympic trials in Sydney in May.
"I've had a very good meet. I've been pretty happy with the way I've swum," he said.
"There's been a few bits and pieces that have become obvious to me that I need to work on."
"That's what we're here for. That's why we race in these meets. It's been worthwhile." Perkins said he had no time for nostalgia at the titles which have been part of his life almost every year since he was a fresh-faced 12-year-old.
He won his first state medal at 13 and took his first gold in the 400m a year later, beating Hackett's ironman brother Craig.
"I haven't thought about this being my last state titles too much," Perkins said.
"I've had a job to do over the last few days. I've been thinking about that mainly."
"I've been doing this for a lot of years now. I think it will probably hit me more next year when I'm not here and it's all going on and I'm reading about it and I'm not a part of it." Daniel Kowalski finished fourth in 4:01.24.
It goes without saying that Kieren made the 21-member QLD team to contest the Olympic trials.
1500m 'showdown' on hold
A three-way battle between Kieren Perkins, Grant Hackett and Daniel Kowalski in the 1500m freestyle at the QLD State Championships is unlikely to go ahead.
All 3 have nominated for the 1500m on Jan 15 but it is unlikely they will all swim it.
Hackett was the first to withdraw, a few days ago saying he almost certainly would contest only the 200, 400 and 800m races.
Kieren's coach indicated today that his superstar swimmer would only swim the same races.
Perkins' coach John Carew said today he was reluctant to subject the dual Olympic champion and world recordholder to another gruelling 1500m swim, so close to the Sydney world cup meet later this month.
"He's down to swim the 400 and 1500 in Sydney. It takes three weeks to recover from a hard 1500," Carew explained.
"The 1500 always took him a long time to get over. It's pretty demanding.
"Probably we won't do it at the Queensland titles.
"If I submitted him to a longcourse in Queensland, unless I told him specifically to swim slow, I'd have to spend weeks recovering him."
Kowalski hasn't swum a 1500m race since pulling out of last year's Sydney Pan Pacs to undergo shoulder surgery and speculation in swimming circles is he may decide to concentrate on the sprint events at the Olympic trials in May.
"The impression I get is that he's probably going to concentrate more on trying to go for the 4x200m freestyle relay and maybe the 400 as well," Perkins said.
"I don't think he will (swim the 1500 at trials). He's not ready for it, although I'd love to see Dan competing in the 1500 because I've raced against him for so long now and you'd like to see guys like that doing well."
However, Kowalski moved to counter sugestions he would not contest the 1500m
"My name will be in the program to race it, whether or not I'm competitive, who knows?
"I'm not going to know until literally the day of the race.''
Even if Kowalski was back to his peak, it would be unlikely he would make the team against contenders Perkins and Hackett. Craig Stevens' Olympic aspirations have also been blown out of the water with the recent resurgence of Perkins.
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