Larkin wants to swim two more Olympics

Australia's Mitch Larkin says he has been rejuventated under new mentor Dean Boxall.
Australia's Mitch Larkin says he has been rejuventated under new mentor Dean Boxall.

These days Mitch Larkin is loving life.

So much so that the revitalised backstroker wants to swim into his 30s, saying he aims to contest two more Olympics.

Not so long ago, Larkin cut a very different figure.

In the pool, Larkin had lost his mojo.

A frustrating run followed his 2015 heyday when he won two world backstroke titles and was crowned FINA Male Swimmer of the Year.

It led him to leave two coaches in the space of 12 months.

Then there was his very public break-up with Dolphins teammate Emily Seebohm in mid-2018.

But after linking with new mentor Dean Boxall, Larkin has not looked back.

A rejuvenated Larkin, 25, is now the toast of this week's world swimming titles trials in Brisbane.

He won the 100m backstroke final in a time that rocketed him to the world No.2 ranking just weeks ahead of the world championships in South Korea.

Larkin backed up to set a new Commonwealth record in the 200m individual medley that is also the world's fastest time of the year and ninth all-time.

And he hasn't even contested his pet event yet - Thursday's 200m backstroke.

No wonder Larkin doesn't want to leave the pool any time soon.

"For a while there I probably lost a bit of confidence and belief," Larkin said.

"I looked back at 2015 and really wished I could re-live those moments and appreciate it.

"But for the last 12 months I have trained harder than I ever have just because how much I wanted it (back).

"I am loving life at the moment. I would like to swim two more Olympics."

Larkin credited the animated Boxall with his resurgence.

Larkin sensationally left long time coach Michael Bohl after the Rio Olympics where he went in as a raging favourite to claim the backstroke double but only walked away with 200m silver.

An eight month stint with the world-beating Campbell sister's mentor Simon Cusack didn't work out.

Then Larkin discovered livewire Boxall.

"For me it was what I needed at the end of my career, that enthusiasm, that excitement," Larkin said.

"His expectation versus reality is sometimes a little bit skewed, but I love him for it.

"He makes sure I don't get complacent with my training and approach it with the same energy as a kid coming up.

"To have that at the end of your career is pretty amazing. But it may not be the end for me for a while."

Not by a long shot, judging by recent results.

Australian Associated Press