Olympic swimming gold medalist, world champion and former world record holder, Michael Klim, is gearing up to take on the 21.5km marathon Swim the Gold Coast event with his teammates later this month.
It will be third time lucky for Klim, who’s had his eye on the Coolangatta to Surfers Paradise swim for the last few years, only for the event not to go ahead in an unlucky series of events.
“I’m really looking forward to the swim after a bit of bad luck with this event in past years because of the pandemic and the weather,” said Klim.
“We are hoping that the weather Gods are with us because it is a very special event and there aren’t many of this magnitude on the east coast of Australia.
Klim has been using his star power to recruit his rock star team but admits he doesn’t quite know who will be on the start line come 28 May.
“At this stage, I have a team of eight swimmers because people drop out at the last minute or decide not to do it,” he said.
“Originally, we had myself, Sam Sheppard, Kenrick Monk and Andrew Lauterstein and a couple of others.
“We are all looking forward to representing (event organiser) World Series Swims and flying the flag.”
Mr Klim and his team are aiming to showcase the challenging event from a different perspective as they make their way along the coast.
“We are going to try and report from behind the scenes of the event since it is such a long event,” said Mr Klim.
“The plan is to give swimmers and followers an inside look into the event from the boat and in the water.
“I have quite a few good swimmers on the team, we aren’t in the best shape but we will be able to carry each other through and showcase the event while having fun.”
Being an Olympic gold medalist and former world record holder in the 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly and 200m freestyle, Mr Klim is no stranger to preparing for swims but training looks a little different these days.
“I still swim regularly, two to three times a week,” said Mr Klim.
“I mean I don’t swim any great distances anymore, just a couple of kilometres keeps me happy – ‘two-kilometre Tuesday’ – that’s about it.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of the Rottnest Channel Swim in a team before and even with minimal training compared to what I used to do it is still great fun to be in a team with your mates with all the camaraderie and celebrating afterwards.
“For me, swimming is part of my ritual and mindfulness practice now and if I couldn’t swim I would be shattered.
“I’m really lucky I have my little social group that I hang out with and swim with regularly and swimming has provided me with a lifestyle I can carry on anywhere.”
Since retiring from swimming, Mr Klim has founded the skincare brand Milk & Co and Klim by Michael Klim, and more recently he has made a career shift.
“I’ve had a big shift throughout Covid with my career like with a lot of people who decided to make career changes, I have too,” said Klim.
“Previously, I was working full time on my skincare brand which required me to be based in Australia and flying every other week. So I decided to stand down from the operational side of things and be based full time in Bali with my family.
“I opened up my first swim school in Bali – Klim Swim which is an Australian standard swim school bringing high-level teachers and water safety to Bali and Indonesia. We actually have our second one opening next week.
“It has been pretty well received considering the island has never really had a structured swim school before, with most kids just learning to swim in the backyard.
“We had our first competition a couple of weeks ago, with over 400 swimmers and everyone loved it.
“I have also recently joined World Series Swims as co-owner, which is really exciting with lots of plans to grow and take it into the future with new events and clinics.
“So you could say that I am back in the swimming game and back where it all originated, which is pretty exciting.”
Mr Klim has plenty of tips and tricks up his sleeve from competing on the world stage for 17 years but his best is “preparation is key”.
“People tend to get really nervous if they are underdone or haven’t prepared properly, so preparation is key,” said Mr Klim.
“If you are prepared you will be fine. The little things really matter too, so check you have your checklist of equipment you’re going to use on the day of your swim. I think that is really important.
“Nutrition is also really important for marathon swims and making sure you have a good plan and are prepared is key.
“Mimic race conditions during training, such as going for open water training sessions rather than going straight from the pool to the ocean.
“Also, practice your sighting, or swimming in a little pack, or with your eyes closed, I think those things are important to practice before race day.
“Finally, just make sure you have your expectations in the right place and don’t put too much pressure on yourself, just go out and have fun and enjoy yourself.”
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