Buoyant Sullivan makes dancing debut

Perth swimming champion Eamon Sullivan was a splash hit with a romantic foxtrot full of lifts and spins on last night's premiere of Dancing with the Stars.

The triple Olympian, who recently retired from swimming, impressed three of the four judges with help from his professional dance partner Kalamunda's Ash-Leigh Hunter.

Though judge Todd McKenney told the 29-year-old his poor posture made it look like he was "pulling a dead body out", Adam Garcia likened the former world record holder's dancing to entertainment icon Fred Astaire.

"It was really sweet, smooth and successful," Garcia said.

"You have a natural grace."

Judges Helen Richey and Kym Johnson said Sullivan's poise and elegance outside the pool was a surprise. Such praise took Sullivan aback and he admitted he was relieved to finish his debut.

"It's tough being a competitive person because you want to do your best but I'm such a fish out of water," he said.

Sullivan is competing in the Channel 7 show against stars including singer Ricki-Lee Coulter and WAG Kyly Clarke, who emerged as an early favourite.