Pop star turned swimmer Simpson misses qualifying for Olympics

By: AFP      Published: 06:14 PM, 17 Jun, 2021
Pop star turned swimmer Simpson misses qualifying for Olympics

Pop star turned swimmer Cody Simpson missed out on making Australia's Tokyo Olympic team Thursday, but now has his sights set on Paris in 2024.

Previously a talented junior swimmer, the 24-year-old put his music career on hold and returned to the sport last year.

His focus was not initially Tokyo, but fast times saw him unexpectedly make the grade for the Olympic trials in Adelaide, which ended Thursday.

He smashed his personal best in the 100m freestyle heats this week, touching in 50.22 seconds to finish 23rd overall, still some way off Kyle Chalmers who was quickest in 48.58.

But that was just a warm up for his pet event, the 100m butterfly, and he qualified sixth for the final in 52.84 on Thursday, shaving almost a second of his previous best.

He came last in the final in 52.94 but was nevertheless happy.

"I feel good. My goal was to make the final today which I did. A 52 was my target for the last six months and to do it twice today is super encouraging.

"I'm just looking forward now to getting back to training and keep on going. I've come so much further already than I expected. I didn't think I'd be even remotely competitive until next year at the earliest."

In a documentary this week explaining his decision to put music on hold, Simpson said he loved being around elite athletes.

"For the last 10 years, I don't think there was a week or a day that went by that I didn't still think about swimming or try and figure out when I was going to swim again," he said.

"I just knew that I wasn't done with it. That fire never died in me.

"It was really interesting, going about my business -- touring, releasing music and being so wrapped up in this other life and still being like, 'Is there a pool in this city?'"

When he was 13 years old, Simpson's singing was spotted on YouTube and fame quickly followed.

He has made three albums, toured the world, worked with Justin Bieber and publicly dated celebrities Miley Cyrus and Gigi Hadid.