Cody Simpson
Cody Simpson matched the Olympic qualifying time in winning the 100m 'fly at the Queensland titles. Image by HANDOUT/WADE BRENNAN
  • swimming

Cody Simpson’s Olympic statement after McKeon setback

Murray Wenzel December 11, 2023

Cody Simpson has fuelled his Olympics ambition with a statement swim to win the Queensland 100m butterfly title in Brisbane.

The former pop star took 0.11 seconds of his personal best to win in 51.67 on Monday night, equalling the Paris Olympic qualification time in the process.

The 26-year-old then backed it up to finish fifth in the 100m freestyle final at Brisbane Aquatic Centre.

Cody Simpson
 Cody Simpson was delighted with his personal best time in winning the 100m butterfly. Image by HANDOUT/WADE BRENNAN 

His efforts came hours after girlfriend and 11-time Olympic medallist Emma McKeon was forced out of the event with injury.

Simpson put his music career on hold to return to the pool in 2020, making the 100m butterfly final at the 2021 Olympic trials but missing a spot on Australia’s Games team.

He then won Commonwealth Games gold and silver medals for heat swims in the 4x100m freestyle and 4x100m medley relays in Birmingham last year.

But his latest solo efforts put him in the frame for an individual berth that could be secured at June’s Olympic trials at the same venue, where Australian record holder Matthew Temple (50.45) is expected to set the pace.

“I’m so glad it was here tonight,” Simpson said of his new benchmark that put him equal ninth on the Australian rankings with Olympian Chris Wright. 

“It’s awesome to be looking forward to Olympic trials; it’s really important to race well. 

“I grew up racing in this pool and it’s great to get a Queensland open championship.”

Earlier, McKeon was ruled out of the event with a torn muscle in a blow to her Games preparation.

Australia’s most decorated Olympian was due to race alongside Cate Campbell in Monday’s 100m freestyle heats.

But her lane was empty, coach Michael Bohl later confirming she had been withdrawn as a “precaution”.

Bohl said McKeon had been managing “a minor tear under her armpit for some weeks” and that the medical advice was to not rush back into competition.

The championships are the last meet of the year and Olympic trials will take place from June 10, some five weeks before the 2024 Games in Paris.

McKeon won four golds at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, and seven medals in total.

It was the most by any female swimmer at a single Olympic Games and the joint-most medals across any sport with Soviet gymnast Maris Gorokhovskaya, who achieved the feat in 1952.

The meet also served as Campbell’s first steps towards becoming the first Australian to swim at five Olympics.

Cate Campbell
 Cate Campbell placed third in the 100m freestyle final at the Queensland championships. Image by HANDOUT/WADE BRENNAN 

The 31-year-old, who has returned this year after a lengthy break following the Tokyo Games, finished third in the 100m freestyle final.

Campbell clocked 53.23 to finish behind Meg Harris (53.03) and Shayna Jack (52.76).

And Ariarne Titmus cruised to victory in the 400m freestyle final on Monday night, her first title since revealing in September she had benign tumours removed from an ovary.