Kieren Perkins (UAS)
Honor Swimmer (2006)
FOR THE RECORD: 1992 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (1500m freestyle), silver (400m freestyle); 1996 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (1500m freestyle); 2000 OLYMPIC GAMES: silver (1500m freestyle): 11 WORLD RECORDS: three-800m, three-1500m, one-400m freestyle long course and one-800m, three-1500m freestyle short course; 1991 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: silver (1500m freestyle); 1994 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (400m, 1500m freestyle); 1990 COMMONWEALTH GAMES: silver (1500m freestyle); 1994 COMMONWEALTH GAMES: gold (200m, 400m, 1500m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle); 1998 COMMONWEALTH GAMES: bronze (1500m freestyle); 1991 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (400m, 800m, 1500m freestyle); 1993 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (400m, 800m, 1500m freestyle), silver (4x200m freestyle); 1995 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (1500m freestyle), silver (800m freestyle).
Only three other swimmers had won Olympic medals in two Olympic Games in the 1500m freestyle – Murray Rose (AUS) 1956 & 1960; Michael Burton (USA) 1968 & 1972 and Vladimir Salnikov (URS) 1980 & 1988 – until Kieren Perkins won a third 1500m Olympic medal (1992, 1996 & 2000). All totaled in Olympic competition, he captured two gold and a silver in the 1500m freestyle and a silver in the 400m freestyle. He set 11 world records, holding the 1500m freestyle record for nine years, the 800m for ten years and the 400m freestyle for five years. When swimming a 1500m freestyle race at the 1991 Pan Pacific Championships, he stopped at the 800m mark to be sure the 800m world record was his and then continued to win the race. In the 1996 Olympic 1500m race, he won the hearts of his countrymen when he barely made the Olympic Team, qualified last for the final, but came back to win the gold medal. He already held the world record.
Coach John Carew trained Kieren to swim the longer freestyle events. He could start each race swimming fast, take the lead and go the whole race about the same speed. That is what made him so hard to catch.