Pop singer Cody Simpson was disqualified from his heats in the 100m freestyle for a false start at the Australian Swimming Championships on Saturday morning.
The 25-year-old started at the SA Aquatic and Leisure Center in Adelaide which could cost him a place in the final.
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Simpson clocked an impressive 49.43, the seventh fastest swim of the morning. He would have improved his personal best by more than a second had he not been disqualified.
Freestyle isn’t his favorite shot but the Queenslander has proven he can challenge the country’s best in the pool despite only returning to the sport in 2020.
Sixteen-year-old William Yang and Flynn Southam were tied fastest in the heats with a stunning time of 48.62, while defending champion Kyle Chalmers sat out the event.
Meanwhile, Tokyo hero Kaylee McKeown is on track for another backstroke title, topping the women’s 200m backstroke qualifying on Saturday morning.
Simpson is a likely selection in Australia’s squad for this year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham after coming third in the men’s 100m butterfly final on Thursday night, but he could miss the 2022 FINA World Championships in Budapest at following Chalmers’ sudden backflip.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Olympic champion Chalmers said he would make a final decision on whether to attend the event after consulting with his coach in the coming days.
Because Chalmers finished second in the 100m butterfly, Simpson would miss out on a ticket to Budapest if the South Australian chooses to compete at the world championships.
On Friday, Chalmers reached out to Simpson to clear things up amid rumors about their relationship since it was revealed the pop singer was dating Olympic icon Emma McKeon.
Chalmers and McKeon had previously dated, with their relationship first going public in September.
“We had a conversation last night,” Simpson said. Amazon Prime Video.
“He was cool, he kind of reached out and we kind of cleared the air about it. So all is well in that direction. I would respect his decision anyway.
“I kind of realized he had changed his mind, which he has every right to do, obviously.
“He has room. I didn’t finish second, I finished third. So for him to have done that (finish second), especially with the limited preparation he had, is pretty remarkable.
Simpson said he was excited to be a part of the emerging rivalry between him, Chalmers and Matt Temple.
“It’s exciting to be a part of something like this,” he said.
“To have been one of those three guys for me is crazy enough. I look at those two guys and even until two days ago I thought, ‘God, they’re so ahead of me.’ I have so much work to do to even be in the running”.
On Friday, Chalmers described speculation surrounding his position in the event and his personal relationships with McKeon and Simpson as a “nightmare”.
“I have sacrificed my body and given my all too (sic) my sport and my country over the past decade,” he wrote on Instagram.
“If I had known it was going to be too much (sic) to be the reaction and the respect I get, I would never have entered the race.
“What was also supposed (sic) to be a pleasant new stimulus turned into a useless nightmare!
“I hope the media gets the clicks they want, never forget that athletes are human like everyone else.”