Australian swimming greats Ian Thorpe and Cate Campbell said ‘it was no surprise’ to see Kyle Chalmers pull out of the 100m fly at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Chalmers was scheduled to swim in the 100m butterfly heats on Monday night (AEDT), but skipped the event to prepare for the 100m freestyle final on Tuesday instead.
The latter discipline has long been the 24-year-old’s favourite event.
Kyle Chalmers pulled out of the 100m fly at the Commonwealth Games on Monday
Chalmers won gold in the 100m freestyle at the 2016 Olympic Games and followed it up with a silver in Tokyo last year and also claimed silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and in the World Championship the following year.
He clocked a time of 47.36seconds in the semi-final on Monday, which would have been good enough to claim gold in the World Championships last month.
Chalmers has already won gold in the 4x100m freestyle and the 4x100m mixed freestyle relays in Birmingham and Thorpe indicated he wasn’t surprised by his decision to skip the 100m fly.
‘It was no surprise for us, knowing that Kyle would concentrate on the 100m freestyle,’ the Aussie legend said on Seven.
Earlier on Monday he swam a blistering quick time of 47.36seconds in the 100m freestyle
Campbell echoed Thorpe’s stance, suggesting Chalmers was right to ‘conserve his energy’ for other events.
‘It’s not unexpected. It’s what I would do in his position,’ the eight-time Olympic medallist said.
‘He’s obviously had a really big couple of days. And he really needs to focus on where it counts, and he said he’s done the butterfly for a bit of fun but he’s now here to focus.’
While Cody Simpson qualified for the 100m fly semi-finals with the fifth-fastest time
Chalmers threatened to quit swimming if ‘false news’ continued to circulate that he was in a love triangle rift with Simpson and his ex-flame Emma McKeon (right)
Chalmers’ withdrawal meant he avoided a potential showdown with teammate Cody Simpson, who finished third in his heat and qualified for the semi-final with the fifth-fastest time.
The duo have dominated the headlines in the lead up to the Commonwealth games, but their achievements in the pool have been overshadowed by their private lives.
Pop star Simpson has made a sensational return to swimming and is dating Chalmers’ ex-flame Emma McKeon, who won four gold at the Olympic Games last year.
Ian Thorpe has backed Chalmers’ decision to focus on the 100m freestyle
A stance backed by Australia great and eight-time Olympic medallist Cate Campbell (middle)
And Thorpe suggested Chalmers did the right thing by taking himself out of the limelight for a while.
‘I think, with what’s gone on and the kind of pressure that’s come with what’s being said at the moment for him, he’s found something extra and he has something to prove,’ he added.
‘And I think it’s something to prove to himself as well.’