Two-time Olympic champion Perkins to lead Swimming Australia

SYDNEY (AP) – Two-time Olympic gold medallist Kieren Perkins is taking his experience gained in the pool to the board room: He’s been named president of Swimming Australia.

Perkins won gold in the 1,500 metres at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics and broke numerous world records in his career. He retired from swimming in 2000 having won 23 medals at international competitions and was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2002.

The 47-year-old Perkins takes over the role that was left vacant by former president John Bertrand following the Swimming Australia annual general meeting last week. Bertrand skippered Australia II to victory in the 1983 America’s Cup, ending 132 years of American supremacy in the yacht race.

“I think Kieren’s swimming pedigree speaks for itself, but he also has incredible business acumen that will be vital to the role as we look to navigate in a post-COVID environment,” Swimming Australia chief executive Leigh Russell said in a statement yesterday.

“He has spent a huge portion of his life in the sport and has that great blend of understanding the nuances of swimming and strategic experience from the corporate sector.”

Perkins said he wanted swimming to remain one of Australia’s leading sports.

File photo shows Kieren Perkins of Australia competing in the men’s 1500 metre freestyle final at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA. PHOTO: AP