Pop star Cody Simpson’s Tokyo Olympic dream is still on song after he made it through to the finals at the Australian trials in Adelaide.
The ex-boyfriend of Miley Cyrus has been pushed out of the spotlight this week by the stunning performances of Australia’s women swimmers but he was back as the centre of attention again after a stunning performance in the water on Thursday.
Still in the early stages of his comeback to swimming, Simpson smashed his personal best time in the 100m butterfly to qualify sixth for Thursday night’s final in a time of 52.84 seconds.
Former scaffolder Matt Temple was the fastest qualifier, stopping the clock at 51.79. Temple has already qualified for Tokyo in 200m butterfly and 100m freestyle.
Only a maximum of two swimmers will be selected to swim the event at Tokyo. To be guaranteed selection, swimmers need to finish first or second in the final and go under Australia’s qualifying time of 51.70.
A childhood star in swimming before he turned to music, Simpson has repeatedly played down his chances of making it to Tokyo, saying his goal was to get on the team for Paris in 2024.
But he has improved faster than anyone expected, earning praise from season coaches and competitors, but the odds are still stacked against him finishing top two in the final.
Cate Campbell, fresh from qualifying for her fourth Olympics in the 100m freestyle topped the qualifiers for the 50m freestyle.
Despite a slow start off the blocks Campbell won her heat in 24.04 – the second fastest time in the world this year.
Emma McKeon was second fastest in 24.46. She has already qualified for 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle and 100m butterfly.
Emily Seebhom, who has also qualified for her fourth Olympics, set the pace in the 200m backstroke, posting the best time of 2:1036.
Saving her energy for a shot at breaking the world record in the final, teenage sensation Kaylee McKeown was second quickest in 2:10.52.
Cam McEvoy and Greyson Bell set the equal best time (22.08) in the men’s 50m freestyle heats, just outside the official Olympic qualifying time (22.01).
However, they are well off the standard mandated by Swimming Australia (21.77), raising the real possibility Australia may not have an entrant in the race, where the different between winning and losing can be the blink of an eye.