Kyle Chalmers referred to the “fictional storylines” of his mental health for missing an announcement by the Australian national swimming team on Sunday night. He was absent when the dolphin lineups were named for the world title and the Commonwealth Games, and the swimmers represented in the pool after the national titles in Adelaide.
Instead, the Olympic gold and silver medalist was with his family in his hometown of Port Lincoln, about a seven-hour drive from the South Australian capital.
Some reports – completely unfounded – during the national trials suggested that Chalmers had changed his mind about racing at the World Championships next month. Last year, Chalmers was romantically involved with Emma McKeon. Now McKeon is dating Cody Simpson, a pop star who has returned to the pool.
The tabloid suggested that Chalmers overturned his decision not to swim in the world to prevent Simpson from joining the team. Chalmers finished second after Matt Temple in the 100-meter butterfly qualifier and Simpson third. Only the top two secured qualifying for next month’s World Cup in Budapest. When Chalmers adhered to his initial decision to miss the world, Simpson was elected.
“The last few days have been very difficult for me mentally and emotionally, and it has affected me greatly,” Chalmers wrote on Instagram. “I need to take care of my mental health and adjust myself as I prepare for the big year in the pool.
“The negative media attention around my decision to compete in world competitions and the fictional storylines around my personal life were more than I can handle. The best thing for me now is to relax at home in Port Lincoln with friends and family. “
McKeon, who won four gold and three bronze medals at last year’s Tokyo Olympics, did not swim in Adelaide. Her Olympic success guaranteed her a pre-selection to the teams, but she still misses the world to focus on the Commonwealth Games in July and August.
McKeon described the fictional furor as “strange.”
“It’s my personal life and I’m a pretty closed person, so, yeah, I don’t really like it being news,” she said at the team’s presentation. “I’m just blocking it out. As I said, I am a private person and I think I will always be. I’m close to my family, next to my friends, and … I open up with them. “
Simpson missed the selection for the World Cup, but he is part of the Commonwealth Games, which had more loose selection criteria – to get into the top three on the test.
“I just tried to stay calm … and just tried not to look at what everyone was saying, writing and publishing,” Simpson said. The celebrity swimmer “absolutely” understood Chalmers ’arguments about his premise and Chalmers’ right to do so.
“People like to spin history and find history out of something,” Simpson said. “He is [Chalmers], given the limited training he had, got up and made an incredible effort, so nothing but respect for him for it. And he is completely in his right to decide to swim.
“… If the situation was turned around and I found myself in that position and said I wanted to swim, I hope people will understand and respect that I deserve this place.”