Australian pop star Cody Simpson proved his Olympics chase is not just a pipe dream, with the Gold Coast native pulling out an scintillating swim at the Australian Swimming Champions.
The junior representative-level swimmer quit the sport 11 years ago to chase fame and fortune, but returned to the pool last year with Olympics glory in his sights.
Now he’s sent a message to his doubters with a 24.68 second swim in the men’s 50 metre butterfly event – after shocking fans when he opted to skip his preferred 100m butterfly event one day earlier.
The 25-year-old’s performance in his 50m heat was good enough for 11th overall, just 0.02s away from booking himself a place in Sunday’s final as one of the top 10 finishers.
And despite previously declaring a place in the 2024 Olympic Games was his initial plan, Simpson’s development is continuing apace – and his hopes of representing Australia in the 100m butterfly appear very real.
The 50m swim was used to shake the rust off after more than decade since his last competition appearance, and offered the pop darling (widely known as ex-partner of Miley Cyrus) the chance to measure himself against a host of top rivals.
“I probably would have liked to have gone a little quicker, but it was the first race back in a long time and I’ve only just come out of quarantine,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
But he remains bullish on his chances of reaching the delayed Tokyo Games.
“There’s good and bad days, as there are with anything, but in the grand scheme, I’ve been progressing faster than I thought I would have, considering I’ve only been back in the water about none to 10 months now,” Simpson said.
“I started knowing it was going to be a really long journey for me, even for Tokyo. Considering it was supposed to be last year it was never on the cards but even this year it’s obviously a long shot.
“I’ve always been looking at it as a long-term goal, but in a way I’m ahead of my schedule so happy with that.”
Simpson recently returned to Australia and spent two weeks in quarantine, before beginning training with renowned Queensland coach Michael Bohl.
He was even spotted chatting with Aussie swim great Ian Thorpe at the national championships, and has previously revealed Olympics legend Michael Phelps has offered him tips as he chases his swim dream.
Simpson is expected to compete in the 100m butterfly at the Sydney Open which begins on May 8, before the Olympics trials in June. At that meet, held in Adelaide, he must finish top-two in order to book a ticket to Japan.