Event: 20km Race Walk
Olympic History: Tokyo 2020
Year Born: 1999
State Born: VIC
As a junior Kyle Swan was a regular on the national team, representing Australian on an impressive four occasions as a teenager.
Growing up in the Melbourne suburb of Wantirna, Kyle Swan first started in athletics aged six years.
“My brother had started Little Athletics a few years prior, so I figured that if I had to go and watch for hours, I may as well join in myself! I found I had an affinity for the longer distance events (the 800m walk was the longest on offer at that age) and soon started training with my first coach Fran Attard”.
He made his junior international debut aged 16 at the 2015 World Youth (U18) Championships. His last two performances as a teenager in 2018, were of the highest quality. In the junior event at the World Race Walking Cup in China, he was the first Aussie across the line in 10th place and helped Australia to bronze in the team event. Two months later he travelled to Finland to compete in the World U20 Championships where he placed an outstanding sixth 41:24.12.
As a senior athlete he now needed to race over twice the distance - 20km.
“Transitioning from the junior to the open ranks means tougher competition and more competitive teams, but for race walkers it also entails a jump from the 10km junior events up to at least the 20km distance. The 20km requires more mileage in training and is more mentally taxing too. After the conclusion of my junior career, it took me about 18 months to put down a solid 20km performance.”
He raced regularly over the new distance during 2019, after starting with a modest 1:35 hours, by December he was down to a terrific 1:23.53. After a low key COVID-effected 2020, in 2021 he set track bests over 5000m and 10,000m and two solid walks just outside his 20km PB.
His tremendous 2021 form led to his Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games where in the stifling Sapporo heat, he placed 36th in the 20km Walk in a time of 1:27.55.
“It was challenging out there, so hot, but it was so much fun. I enjoyed competing on this stage and I’m happy with the result,” said Kyle.
“I did everything I could in the last six months to make this a reality. It didn’t matter if I came first or last, I was going to be happy with the opportunity to be an Olympian.”