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First Mack Horton, now Kyle Chalmers could be gunning for China's Sun Yang

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As if Sun Yang hasn't had enough of Australians. After going down to Mack Horton in the Olympic 400 metres final, Sun may have to deal with 100m champion Kyle Chalmers as the star teenager contemplates adding the 200m freestyle to his schedule.

Horton's take-down of Sun was one of the most controversial moments in the Rio pool, with relations between the pair fraying before the race had even started following a training stoush, then Horton labelling Sun a "drug cheat".

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The Chinese star bounced back to win gold in the 200m but could face a new rival as soon as the FINA world championships in Hungary next year, with Chalmers potentially stepping up in distance in a bid to add more scope to his program.

He's performed strongly in the event on the World Cup short-course circuit, fresh from a 200m win in the latest event in Tokyo. That might be a scene-setter for much bigger things to come, with Chalmers keen to add that event to his long-course program as early as next year.

The 18-year-old has always rated himself as a 200m swimmer taking on the shorter distances, rather than the other way around. It's a race he's swum strongly in through his junior career and like his 100m, he sits back before unleashing a barnstorming finish at the tail end.

"There's more thought process that goes into it, it is not an all-out sprint or all-out aerobic race. It's a race I would definitely look at doing in the future," Chalmers said.


"I did my first couple of international [200m] races on the World Cup [circuit] and really enjoyed it. I'm excited about racing it again in the future."

Chalmers has become one of the faces of Australian swimming and headlines the shortcourse national titles in Brisbane, starting at Chandler from Thursday. But even though he owns one of the highest-profile gold medals of the Olympic pool, he still doesn't consider himself a "top dog" of the sport.

First he must convince himself his 100m gold was anything other than good fortune. He still contends he wasn't the best swimmer in the Olympic final and simply "got lucky" on the day, although anyone who watched him scythe down the best sprinters in the world would know otherwise.

"I wouldn't say that [I'm one of the big dogs]. The way I look at Rio, I was not the best swimmer in the pool, I think I just got lucky," Chalmers said. 

"I still have a long way to go and lot of improvement to get to the next level. I haven't even won a national title."

Swimmers aren't the cereal box stars they used to be but life has changed greatly for Chalmers since his Rio crown. He flew so far beneath the radar ahead of the Games that few of his rivals knew anything of him, nor did he profess to know much about them.

Now he's regularly stopped for photos and autographs, especially in his hometown of Adelaide, while his management team has been overloaded with commercial requests. Careful not to go too fast, too soon, they have been exceptionally picky in terms of potential suitors.

Chalmers said he knows he must balance his media and sponsorship commitments with staying fresh and motivated in the pool, crediting his father Brett – a former AFL footballer – with being a key figure in guiding him along the right path.

"I have a massive advantage because my dad was an AFL player back in the day and has been through it all and will continue to guide me," Chalmers said.

"Peter Bishop, my coach, has also kept me grounded and still pushing me at training and looking to the future."