Olympic gold medalist opens up about his life as a tradie

Jarrod Brown
By Jarrod Brown
5 Min Read

Aussie swimming legend Kyle Chalmers is embracing a new career as “just another tradie in high vis” as he explores a normal life away from the pressures of competitive swimming.

The Olympic gold medallist has started labouring a couple of days a week around Adelaide after struggling to decide what to do once he retires from the pool.

“This year, I’ve challenged myself to put myself into the workforce, which is something I’ve never done and something I’ve spoken about doing for a long time,” he told Bevan Jones on a new podcast with Chalmers’ former coach, Shelly Jarrett.

“For me, I’ve been labouring a building site a couple days a week, in an area I’ve worked a day in my life.

“To get out of the car in my high vis on my first day with guys that I’ve never met, I think was very challenging for me.

“It’s something I’m loving, just finding Kyle the person again and reconnecting myself with a different crowd of people.”

The 25-year-old told the pair he was fully embracing the tradie life, admitting that he had even gone for a meat pie and iced coffee after work.

“I think it’s always been a question I’ve struggled with is what I’m going to do after swimming. I met with my accountant at the start of the year, he asked me that question, and I said I wouldn’t mind being a builder because most of my mates are tradies.

“He was having his offices fixed, and he said this builder would have me out there any day of the week. He called me that afternoon and I started two days later. 

“The work boys have been great. They’ve really taken me under their wing and they’re happy to show me and go slow with me.

“I love it. I’ve found my calling.”

Chalmers also said he enjoyed the anonymity that came with the high-vis uniform, 

“I really, really love being in my high vis because when I’m walking around in my normal clothes, people know who I am and everywhere I go, I get stopped or looked at like an animal in a zoo at times,” he told the hosts.

“But when I’ve got the high vis on, it’s almost like a completely different person … I’ve got the bald head now, the tattoos and the high vis, they think I’m just another tradie, so I really love wearing it around.”

But “the missile” hasn’t traded in the pool for the building sites just yet. 

Chalmers said his sights were firmly set on taking home the gold in the 2024 Paris Olympics, a feat he hasn’t been able to achieve since he burst onto the scene as an 18-year-old in 2016.

“I’ll swim on for a little while, and probably have some fun with it after Paris,” Chalmers said.

“I’ll probably do a lot more of the World Cup circuit and do some money-making swimming.”

Chalmers said that when he does decide to pull the plug on the pool, he’s looking forward to returning home to Port Lincoln, picking back up the tools and playing local footy with his mates.

“I’ll move back to Lincoln eventually. I can’t wait to go back there with all my friends, grandparents and all cousins are still over there,” he said.

“One day, sometime in the near future, I’ll be back in Port Lincoln playing footy for the mighty Lincoln South Eagles.

“I’m loving my chippy work at the moment, so hopefully, I’ll go down that avenue and live a bit more of a casual life and go fishing after work each afternoon and play footy on the weekends.”

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Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. He has a strong passion for new and emerging consumer technology within the building sector. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.