In an unprecedented move, after the last swim had occurred, a 'special presentation' was announced. The Australian swimming team were going to send Kieren and teammate Susie O'Neill out on a high. They hoisted them on their shoulders and held them up to the adoring crowd - which roared its approval - to the strains of one of the Olympics' theme songs, 'Heroes Live Forever.' "The Australian swimming team thanks Kieren Perkins and Susie O'Neill" said the announcer.
Kieren admitted at this point he came close to "losing it."
"That was the most emotional moment of the whole thing," he said.
There will never be another swimmer like Kieren Perkins. Not only because of his unmatched awesome career and his revolutionising of Australian swimming but also his extraordinary effect on Australia's psyche. It seems unlikely even in swimming-crazed Australia that the nation will stop to see any other swimmer make the Commonwealth Games team. Nor treat one of their swims as a 'remember where you were when' moment akin to the moon landing. Or an entire crowd erupt into a deafening chant of their name, even though a different Australian is winning.
Without doubt, whatever great swimmers may come out of Australia in the future, Kieren Perkins will always be The King.