As the curtain closed on another stellar Commonwealth Games swimming campaign from the Australian Dolphins, one of the stars of the team has revealed how Kyle Chalmers’s unwanted media attention and mental health struggles had rippled through the squad she describes as “a family”.
- Kyle Chalmers has been open about his mental health struggles throughout the Birmingham Games
- Ariarne Titmus says intense media scrutiny has the potential to impact the whole team
- The Dolphins won 65 medals, the best haul Australian swimmers have ever produced at the Commonwealth Games
“I think we all kind of feel part of it,” said Ariarne Titmus, moments after winning her fourth gold medal of the week, for the 400m Freestyle.
“Because we are all so close, we are such a close team, and I think that’s why we perform so well, because we have each others’ backs.
“I think it potentially can affect us emotionally because they’re our friends, they’re teammates. We’re like a family and we don’t like seeing people upset and put through duress.
“And we’ve come out killed here and done our best and done our country proud and I think the swimming does the talking. We’ve it this week and I hope that Australia is proud of our performance and we’ve done our absolute best for the country and we’re going to go home with some extra luggage.”
Chalmers has been the center of intense scrutiny over his personal life. Then, on Saturday night, it came to a dramatic head, when after anchoring the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay to a gold-medal victory, he faced more questioning over an “apparent” rift within the Australian swim team.
Despite going through what he described as “the most-challenging, probably 48 hours of my swimming career”, he produced an incredible swim in 100m freestyle final days later, to claim the gold medal.
He climbed onto the lane ropes and put a finger to his mouth, after winning.
On Thursday morning (AEST), his Commonwealth Games campaign came to an end in the 4×100 medley relay, with Chalmers swimming the final leg and Australia finishing second, just 0.08 behind England.
Chalmers said he was “relieved” the week was now over.
“For me, everyday — like we say — is day one,” he said.
“So it’s all about getting yourself up and performing every time you pull the Australian cap on, especially tonight swimming in relays.
“It’s my favorite thing and the reason why I do the sport is to be a part of the relays … so, for me, it’s all about pushing everything aside, racing every time I stand up, doing my absolute best.
“And, obviously, this next week is probably going to be reflecting on it and looking at all the positives that have come. There’s so many things to be grateful for: being part of the team, it’s special.”
“And we are all so close and it’s been a very, very successful week in the pool for us and, hopefully, we’re able to celebrate a little bit tonight as a team and, obviously, we all depart tomorrow. It’s been great .”
The Dolphins head back home with 65 medals they’ve won in the pool: 25 gold, 21 silver and 19 bronze.
It’s the best gold medal haul Australia has ever produced at Commonwealth Games in swimming.
“The team has really gotten around each other. This could possibly [have] been one of the best Comm Games medal tallies from the swim team, so I think it’s unreal to be a part of and the whole swim team has done so well,” 4×100 mixed relay silver medallist Matt Temple said.