Kyle Chalmers has all but confirmed he will represent Australia at this year’s world championships, displacing pop phenom Cody Simpson.
Olympic freestyle champion Kyle Chalmers has all but confirmed he will represent Australia at this year’s FINA World Championships in Budapest, displacing pop phenom Cody Simpson.
After initially claiming he had ruled himself out of the world championships because of his busy program, the 23-year-old is having second thoughts after a successful Australian Swimming Championships campaign.
On Wednesday evening, Matthew Temple won the men’s 100m butterfly final in Adelaide with a time of 51.50, with Chalmers placing second at 51.67.
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Meanwhile, Simpson appeared to have booked his ticket to the Birmingham Commonwealth Games and a spot on the Aussie team for the world championships when he finished third with a time of 51.96.
But with Australia only able to have two entries in the 100m butterfly event in Budapest, Chalmers has the power to kick Simpson off the team.
Speaking to Amazon Prime Video after Thursday evening’s 50m butterfly final, Chalmers virtually confirmed he would join the Australian team at the world championships, meaning Simpson misses out.
“Eight weeks ago I wasn’t swimming at all, didn’t know if I’d be swimming at all this year,” he explained, pointing to ongoing shoulder injuries.
“It would’ve been disrespectful to say I was going to swim at the world championships.”
Chalmers was then asked whether Simpson had crossed his mind while making the decision. He bluntly replied: “No.”
“There’s six other guys in the race as well that are disappointed, right? For me, swimming is a cutthroat sport,” he continued.
“You’ve got to finish in the top two to get the individual spot, and unfortunately I — well, not unfortunately, it’s my dream. It’s my dream to be a butterflier, I started out as a butterflier and I’ve always hoped to do butterfly.
“My body hasn’t allowed me as much to this point, so that’s nice, my body’s finally going OK. Like I said I want to swim it (the 100m butterfly) in Paris, so I’ve got to start practising and getting myself ready to do that.
“So for me, it’s not come into my mind at all. It comes into my mind like David Morgan for example, he’s been on the team for such a long period of time. Does it destroy his dream? It’s not something you take into account in an individual sport, unfortunately.”
Speaking to reporters after the race, Chalmers explained that he would make a final decision in the next couple of days after consulting his coach.
“Obviously I look at my preparation eight weeks ago and I wasn’t in the pool at all, potentially not going to swim at all, potentially maybe never even going to swim again,” he said.
“My shoulders were in a whole lot of pain. I was extremely burnt out.
“Personally I think (going to worlds) is going to be the best thing for me personally moving forward.
“You can’t make me out to be the villain. Yeah, it’s unfortunate that it probably takes Cody’s spot away but it also takes away five other guys’ (places) who were in the race. It’s not just Cody.
“I think the hard thing is my training buddy Matt Temple is the Australian record holder who won his back to back title last night. There is no attention or hype around him which is for me what I struggle the most with. It’s great there is eyes on me and Cody. The eyes deserve to be on Matt Temple.”
The extraordinary situation is further clouded by reports Simpson is now in a relationship with Aussie Olympic icon Emma McKeon.
News Corp reported last week that Simpson and McKeon have been seeing each other on the Gold Coast.
McKeon and Chalmers were previously romantically linked, with reports first emerging in September that they were dating.
Simpson will have to wait until the end of the week for his Commonwealth Games selection to be confirmed when the team is announced.
“That’s a dream come true,” he said after Wednesday’s race.
“I had a great swim this morning, so much progress from last year. I’ve just been busting my arse all year so it’s amazing to see results like this pay off. I was hoping to go a little quicker tonight but to scrape under is a real dream.
“I had no idea it was going to happen this meet so I’m through the roof.
“I only started training a little under two years after 10-11 years out of the water. I didn’t think I’d be remotely competitive, racing this year at the earliest. To potentially make a team already is just a bonus on the way to Paris.”
Later on Thursday, Olympic hero Zac Stubblety-Cook broke the men’s 200m breaststroke world record in Adelaide, setting a blistering time of 2:05.95.