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Celebrity swimmer Simpson misses first Olympic chance

Celebrity swimmer Cody Simpson has failed in his first bid to become an Olympian.

Jun 13, 2024, updated Jun 13, 2024
Cody Simpson pictured at the World Swimming Championship Trials in Melbourne last year. (AAP Image/James Ross)

Cody Simpson pictured at the World Swimming Championship Trials in Melbourne last year. (AAP Image/James Ross)

Simpson, the global pop star who returned to the pool four years ago, has missed a spot in the men’s 100m freestyle final at Australia’s selection trials in Brisbane.

Kyle Chalmers, the Olympic champion in the event in 2016 and silver medallist at the Tokyo Games of 2021, topped qualifying times but then declared he partly botched the race.

Simpson ranked 10th in the heats with a time of 49.04 seconds. The eighth quickest, Max Giuliani, secured a spot in the final by clocking 48.90.

The 27-year-old, who hit pause on his pop career to return to swimming, has one more chance to make Australia’s swim team for next month’s Paris Olympics.

Simpson will race his preferred 100m butterfly on Saturday.

“It’s a stacked field in the 100 free so I knew it was going to be a bit iffy trying to get in to that final,” Simpson said.

“It’s a good warm-up for the 100 fly.

“I have had a really good last six months of training just absolutely flogging myself.

“Swimming is tricky … you’re training for a long time for really marginal gains, microscopic sometimes.

“I have just been banging at the brick wall trying to get to that next level. And the faster you get, the harder it is to keep getting faster.”

Chalmers touched in 48.39 ahead of William Yang (48.50) and Flynn Southam (48.64).

“I probably didn’t execute to the best of my ability … definitely some areas I can improve on tonight,” Chalmers said, looking forward to the final.

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“I will really put the pressure on myself … it has got to be self-driven and self-motivated.”

Also on Thursday morning, Kaylee McKeown topped the times in the 200m backstroke heats.

The reigning Olympic champion and world-record holder in the event finished in two minutes 08.83 seconds with Hannah Fredericks (2:10.19) the next quickest.

Emily Seebohm, aged 32 and just eight months after giving birth, also advanced to the final.

Seebhom, bidding to become the first Australian swimmer selected for five Olympics, clocked 2:11.00 to be fourth-fastest qualifier.

“When I was pregnant, I felt like I lost that athlete that I was,” Seebohm said.

“And this is me trying to regain what I once had and proving to other women that it’s possible to not only have kids but achieve your dreams too.

“I’m doing it for myself and I’m doing it to prove to (son) Sampson that if you’ve got a dream, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.”

Abby Connor (2:06.43) was fastest into the 200m butterfly final followed by Liz Dekkers (2:07.71).

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