Australia swim trials: Zac Stubblety-Cook gets world record; Cody Simpson may miss worlds

Zac Stubblety-Cook

Olympic gold medalist Zac Stubblety-Cook broke the men’s 200m breaststroke world record at the Australia Swimming Championships. Singer Cody Simpson might not go to the world championships.

Stubblety-Cook, who broke the Olympic record in Tokyo, lowered the world record to 2:05.95. He broke the record of 2:06.12 set by Russian Anton Chupkov in 2019. It’s the fourth time the men’s 200m breast record has been lowered since the start of 2017.

“I can’t really believe it, to be honest,” Stubblety-Cook, 23, said on Amazon Prime. “I was just, obviously, trying to swim fast here, and I didn’t think that fast.”

Stubblety-Cook now looks for his first world title in Budapest in June after placing fourth at the last worlds in 2019.

Chupkov, the reigning world champion from 2019, will not be in Budapest due to the national ban on Russia for the war in Ukraine. The top challenger may be Olympic silver medalist Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands.

Also Thursday, 2016 Olympic 100m freestyle champion Kyle Chalmers said he may change his mind and decide to swim at the world championships after all. If he does, that would mean that Simpson, the pop star who returned to swimming in 2020 after a decade break, would not be in line for a roster spot.

Chalmers took second in the 100m butterfly at trials on Wednesday. Simpson took third. A nation can send two swimmers to worlds in individual events (provided they have the minimum qualifying time), so it appeared at the time that Simpson would ascend to the second spot with Chalmers expected to decline.

Swimming Australia said last month that Chalmers was bypassing worlds this summer while focusing on the Commonwealth Games in July and August. But on Thursday, Chalmers, after winning the 50m butterfly, said he had not made up his mind.

“I’m not sure,” Chalmers, who is coming back from December shoulder surgery, said on Amazon Prime. “Eight weeks ago, I wasn’t swimming at all. I didn’t know whether I’d be swimming at all this year. So I think, for me, it would have been disrespectful to everyone, really, to say that I was going to world championships and going for butterfly [not his primary stroke].”

Chalmers said he will talk to his coach.

“I’d love to be a part of the team,” he said. “I’ve earned my spot on the team, and we’ll see what happens over the next little period.”

Simpson is still in line for a spot on the team for the Commonwealth Games, where nations can enter three swimmers per individual event. How does Chalmers feel about Simpson possibly missing worlds?

“You can’t make me out to be the villain,” Chalmers said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. “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 [100m butterfly] 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.”

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