Kieren Perkins OAM

Australian swimming hero, businessman, motivational speaker

Kieren Perkins is a hero of Australian swimming and one of the world’s greatest long distance swimmers. With dual Olympic Gold and dual Olympic Silver Medals and an impressive list of awards and achievements, he was the first person in history to hold the Olympic, World, Commonwealth and Pan Pacific titles simultaneously.

Kieren Perkins’ sporting achievements are legendary and since his retirement from the pool, he has drawn on his performance, experience and proven track record in delivering on goals to create a winning formula and establish a successful career in business.

Kieren is a very polished speaker who is more than qualified to talk about leadership and overcoming obstacles. His most popular talk is titled ‘From Lane 8′ where he draws from his experiences as an elite sportsperson and applies some practices into everyday life and business scenarios.

About Kieren Perkins:

Kieren Perkins was 15 years old and still a student at Brisbane Boys’ College in Toowong when he made the cut for the Australian swimming team.

He had a stellar career, winning 18 Australian records, 3 World records and 3 Commonwealth records. He represented Australia at Monte Carlo, Rome, Auckland, Canada, Barcelona, Atlanta and the Sydney 2000 Olympics. In 1992, Kieren captured the nation’s heart when he set a new World Record and won Gold in his famous 1500m freestyle win at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Following this, Kieren was named Australian Swimmer of the Year and Distance Swimmer of the Year. Other awards quickly followed: Outstanding Male Olympian; Favourite Australian Male SportsStar in The People’s Choice Awards; and from the Confederation of Australian Sport, awards for Best Single Sporting Performance, Most Popular Australian Sporting Personality, and Male Athlete of the Year. In 1993 he was awarded an OAM.

Used to making world headlines, Kieren also won Gold and broke two World Records (the 800m and 1500m freestyle) in an unforgettable race at the 1994 Commonwealth Games. Days later, he capped this performance at the World Swimming Championships in Rome, breaking the 400 metres freestyle World record and winning the 1500 metres.

By 1996, when Kieren took to the pool for the 1500m final at the Atlanta Olympic Games, Australia came to a halt. Having qualified as the slowest swimmer, Kieren was under enormous pressure to repeat his Gold Medal winning performance. How Kieren blitzed the field and stormed to victory is now history and proof of his incredible strength, determination and athleticism.

In 2000, Kieren won Silver at the Sydney Olympic Games, before announcing his retirement from competitive swimming.

He was a reporter for the Sydney based program Weekend and during the World Swimming Championships in Fukuoka, he was also seen across the nation as a reporter on A Current Affair. Kieren was a partner in his own business development and training firm, offering companies advice on leadership and organisational culture.

Since his retirement from swimming in 2000, Kieren has transferred his knowledge and experience to build a successful career across the consulting and banking sectors. Kieren joined National Australia Bank in 2010, working across multiple teams before taking on the Chief Executive Officer role at Australian Unity’s retail banking unit in 2021. Most recently, Kieren has returned to the sporting sector, as a Board Member and President of Swimming Australia, and now appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Sports Commission from March 2022.

He is currently a board member of the Starlight Children’s’ Foundation, Pain Australia Ltd and the International River Foundation.

An impressive and inspiring speaker, Kieren’s draws on his experiences to inspire audiences to work as a team, set goals, create pathways to achieve them then deliver – regardless of pressures and distractions. He motivates and inspires self belief.

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