Swim star Larkin seeks medley Olympic gold

·2-min read

Australian swim stalwart Mitch Larkin says he agonised over his decision to drop backstroke and chase a medley gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

Larkin crunched the numbers and decided his best chance was in the 200m individual medley, not his traditional backstroke events.

"I have been hitting my head against the wall for a number of months trying to make that decision," Larkin told reporters on Friday.

Larkin won silver in the 200m backstroke at the 2016 Olympics, where he finished fourth in the 100m backstroke. A year prior, he was world champion in both those backstroke events.

But the 27-year-old believed his best chance of ultimate success in Tokyo rested with the 200m medley, particularly given the retirement of legendary American Michael Phelps who won gold in the event at the past four Olympics.

"I have never swum at an Olympic Games in a medley event, which gives me a lot of excitement," Larkin said.

"As well, it is the one event that I made my first junior teams on ... so coming back to those roots.

"And also I looked at the depth in terms of who is going to win it, the 200 backstroke versus what time is going to medal in the 200 medley.

"And I think that was the deciding factor.

"I have been doing the numbers and what it takes to swim that (medal) area and for me it's just about executing a really good breaststroke coming off a really strong backstroke which is my strength.

"And I have got plenty of fitness in the tank so it's not a matter of how fast I can come home, it's just about executing the perfect race."

Larkin will seek to secure his medley berth at Australia's Olympic selection trials in Adelaide starting on Saturday.

The trials end an uncertain period for Larkin and fellow swimmers after last year's postponement of the Tokyo Games.

"I was absolutely shattered," Larkin said of the postponement.

"I had four weeks off, out of the water completely, and then started focusing on getting back.

"It gave me enough time to have the mental and physical break that I needed and then reassess to go another 12 months."

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