Cody Simpson has taken nearly a second off his personal best time, in qualifying second fastest for tonight’s final of the 100 metres butterfly at the Australian Swimming Championships.
Simpson stopped the clocks in 51.79 seconds, with only Matthew Temple (51.64) able to set a quicker time in this morning’s heats.
Kyle Chalmers rounded out the top three in 52.10.
The top three finishers in tonight’s final will earn a spot on the Australian team for the Commonwealth Games in July, while the top two will compete at the world championships in June.
Simpson’s previous PB was 52.66. He finished eighth in the same event at last year’s national titles, which doubled as the selection trials for the Tokyo Olympics.
Speaking to Wide World of Sports ahead of the selection trials, Amazon Prime Video commentator Grant Hackett said he thought a spot on the team for Birmingham was within reach for Simpson.
“Look, that is still going to be a stretch, but in saying that, it’s not unrealistic, given the times he’s producing,” Hackett said.
“I always though the Olympics team last year was unrealistic, people got carried away with the hype, but I said at the time if he made the final that would be mind-blowing, and he did.
“This year, getting a medal is something that’s a much higher probability than it was 12 months ago.”
While many dismissed Simpson’s initial foray as a stunt, it ignored the fact he was a national-level swimmer as a child.
That’s why Hackett is convinced Simpson’s rivals will be taking the 25-year-old seriously.
“Cody is 100 per cent committed to the sport and the preparation it takes to get onto one of these national teams and represent Australia,” he said.
“We’re going to see a Cody Simpson that is faster and more serious than last year, and more of a contender.
“It’s now starting to get real for his competitors, that Cody is looking for medals this time around, not just finals.”
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