Kyle Chalmers has bigger fish to fry – and Australian legend Ian Thorpe saw him coming a mile away.
Monday night’s Australian champion withdrew at the last minute from the men’s 100m butterfly – an event he shared with pop star Cody Simpson.
The pair were caught in a storm at the Commonwealth Games after speculation about Chalmers’ relationship with Australian legend Emma McKeon.
McKeon is in a relationship with Simpson. She dated Chalmers last year.
All three insisted this week that there was no friction between them. Chalmers said the speculation was “actually just cr**”. I also revealed his mom cried this week following the swirling rumors and said he’s at breaking point as he continues to deal with mental health issues.
Chalmers was on the official start lists ahead of the start of the program at the Birmingham pool, but it was revealed less than an hour before his scheduled swim that he was missing the event.
Simpson and national 100m champion Matthew Temple swam through the heats and advanced to the semi-finals which take place on Tuesday morning (AEST).
Chalmers finished second at the national championships behind Temple in the 100m butterfly, but he had a disappointing swim in the event at the World Championships in Budapest, where he failed to qualify for the semifinals.
After smashing a Commonwealth Games record in the men’s 100 freestyle semi-final on Monday morning, Chalmers opted to focus on his signature event and skipped the butterfly.
Butterfly was nothing more than a side project for Chalmers, designed to reinvigorate his passion for the sport, but it clearly didn’t impact his freestyle after producing a 47.36 on Monday night – a time that would have won him the 100m freestyle world. gold medal at the championships if he had competed in the event last month.
Australian legend Ian Thorpe said after the news broke it was no surprise Chalmers skipped the event.
“It was no surprise to us knowing that Kyle would be focusing on the 100m freestyle,” Thorpe said on Channel 7.
“With the expectations around Kyle now to perform after swimming a 47.3 in the semis, which would have won the world championships, which just passed, it shows that Kyle is in good shape, and he really, I think, with what’s happened and the kind of pressure that comes with what’s being said right now for him, he’s found something more and he’s got something to prove. And I think that’s also something to prove to itself.
Australian legend Cate Campbell also said she was not surprised.
“He is conserving his energy, concentrating on his 100m freestyle which he will swim later tonight,” Cate Campbell said on Channel 7.
“It’s not unexpected. It’s what I would do in his place. He obviously had a really big couple of days. And he really needs to focus where it counts, and he said he had made the butterfly for a little fun, but that he is now there to concentrate.
The 2016 Olympic champion hasn’t won a major individual 100m freestyle event since the Rio Games but has been a force for Australia in relay competitions.
Simpson finished the shots in his inning and qualified with the fifth fastest time, behind Temple, who had the fourth fastest time.
Originally published as Kyle Chalmers pulls out of Cody Simpson ‘showdown’ at Commonwealth Games