After years spent making waves in the pool, today he’s best described as a doting dad – and he’s still partial to some iconic Aussie swimwear.
What is your greatest strength?
My motivation. It comes from when I was a teenager. I had a great sense of purpose with most things I set my mind to, especially swimming, which consumed me from a young age. I experienced some success early on, which definitely fuelled my motivation.
What is your greatest weakness?
I have a Polish temper. [Klim was born in Poland.] And I have a tendency to micromanage. It’s a habit that has carried over from my swimming days when my life – diet, training, recovery, sleep – was very measured and calculated.
What scares you?
What’s your favourite karaoke song?
You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ by The Righteous Brothers.
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What other job would you choose to do?
Growing up, I always wanted to follow in the footsteps of my grandfather and uncle and become an architect. But right now, my dream job is to manage a watersports centre at a tropical resort.
What’s one thing about you that would surprise people?
I can draw. I drew all through my school years. As a teenager, I found it therapeutic.
What’s your most treasured possession?
My Olympic gold medals.
What is your idea of absolute happiness?
On Sundays, my kids and I do fun activities – we call it Sunday Funday.
If you could have dinner with two famous people, who would you choose?
Billy Crystal for the laughs and Coldplay’s Chris Martin for the entertainment.
What travel experience is on your bucket list?
I’d love to see Morocco and Iceland. And I haven’t been to Bora Bora yet.
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How do you switch off?
Going for a swim or a surf. In the past, swimming was something that wasn’t very relaxing but now it’s like going for a walk.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Thirty-two-year-old Chivas Regal [Scotch whisky] and anything sweet.
What quality do you most admire in people?
A sense of humour – it’s a must.
What is your greatest achievement?
Besides my children, the “air guitar” relay at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. [Klim’s team won the men’s 4 x 100-metre freestyle final then taunted the United States team by playing air guitar – because one of the American swimmers had said they’d “smash them like guitars”.] It was pure adrenaline and to share it with teammates was even more rewarding.
What’s the most Australian thing about you?
I wear budgie-smugglers.
If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
I’m a Leo. I like to think I’m true to my star sign: lions are fierce, energetic animals with an infinite amount of positive vibes. Leos are also pretty straightforward.
How would you like to be remembered?
As someone [who acted] with integrity in everything he did.
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