Rio de Janeiro, Nov 7 (IANS) Australia’s dual world swimming champion Mitch Larkin believes he will need to set a new world record to win the 100-metre backstroke at next year’s Rio Olympics. Larkin rose from relative obscurity to win the 100m and 200m backstroke events at this year’s World Championship in Russia, reports Xinhua. Those performances have catapulted him alongside France’s Camille Lacourt, America’s Matt Grevers and Japan’s Ryosuke Irie as one of the favourites to win gold in his pet events in Rio.
“I personally think that it will take a world record in the 100m to be Olympic champion,” Larkin was quoted as saying by Rio2016.com on Friday. “It seems more difficult in the 200m. I’m working on improving some processes, and if I can win some time on this, I believe I can be close to the world record.” America’s Aaron Peirsol holds the 100m and 200m backstroke records with timings of 51.94 seconds and one minute 51.92 seconds. Larkin’s times at this year’s World Championships were 52.40 and 1:53.58. The Brisbane resident, who finished eighth in the 200m backstroke final at London 2012, is not getting carried away with his 2015 success. “The competition (in Rio) will be tough,” the 22-year-old said. “There are the two boys I beat in the 100m (Lacourt and Grevers), who will probably race in their last Olympics, but there are of course other Americans, and there is also (Japan’s) Ryosuke Irie, who is competing fast and also training well.” “It has been an amazing season, one that you wonder where it came from. I hope I can continue converting my good training into good races in 2016, with preparation, qualification and ultimately participation in the Games,” he added.