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2024 Olympics: Matt Temple, the Australian who swims after a plastic chicken



“On the track, greyhounds chase fake rabbits, recalls the Australian daily The Age. Now we have an Australian swimmer chasing a plastic chicken across the bottom of a pool in pursuit of his first individual Olympic medal.” The Australian in question is Matt Temple, a 100m butterfly specialist who has qualified for his second Olympic Games.

Matt Temple, 25, “loves chickens”, simply notes the Melbourne newspaper. To the point of having a chicken coop at home, in Adelaide, on the South Australian coast. And an Instagram account dedicated to his birds, called “Temple’s Tweeters”.

Based on this interest, a biomechanist and a performance analyst at the Australian equivalent of INSEP were inspired by greyhound racing to help their champion progress. “They attached a dog toy, in this case a plastic chicken, to a rope and a drill (used to pull it), Matt Temple tells The Age. I drop the chicken at my feet to the bottom. We say ‘go’ and they start the drill. I chase the chicken, and we see who gets to the end (of the pool) first.”

According to the journalist of The Age, The said chicken did not make the trip to Canet-en-Roussillon (in the south of France), the training location chosen by the Australian selection to complete its preparation. Although he is not considered among the best of the selection, Matt Temple has a chance of a medal in the 100m butterfly. He finished sixth at the Tokyo Games, and fourth at the last world championships, notes the Australian newspaper.

“In December I did a time of 50 sec 25”, he recalls. The world record is 49.45 seconds, and Frenchman Maxime Grousset became world champion last year by swimming the distance in 50.14 seconds.

“With a time around 50.20 seconds, I think I could be on the podium.”

“If only, concludes The Age: There could have been a rubber chicken at the bottom of the Paris swimming pool to motivate Matt Temple.”

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