Aussie Singer & Swimmer Cody Simpson Continues His Quest to Olympic Gold with Mixed Success

Monday April 19, 2021

Cody Simpson
Cody Simpson  (Source:Instagram)

Cody Simpson hit a speed bump on his way to the Olympics this past weekend.

The 24-year-old singer and swimmer has developed an avid fan base since he returned to the sport in October 2019.

"For years I had been fueled by the silent fire in my stomach of returning to the sport of swimming, with the idea that 2020 would be the year I'd try training again," he wrote on Instagram last December. At that time he qualified for the Australian Olympic Trials, with the help of his coach Brett Hawke in California due to the pandemic.

This weekend marked another milestone on his journey to qualify for the Australian swim team, but it didn't go quite as smoothly as he wanted. Since returning to Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald wrote, to train with celebrated coach Michael Bohl at Griffith University. Complicating matters was that he "only walked free of quarantine on the eve of the Championships began and skipped his favored 100m butterfly and the 50m freestyle as he loosened up the limbs."

He did swim in the 50m fly on Saturday night and made Sunday morning's final, finishing ninth (24.79) out of 10 swimmers in the non-Olympic event, which was taken out by Abbotsleigh's Shaun Champion.

"But given Simpson only decided to try competitive swimming nine months ago, after a highly successful junior career where he won national titles up until the age of 13, it's an impressive start for someone who is determined to forge his way onto the Olympic roster in either Tokyo or Paris in 2024," the SMH added.

"I'm still trying to figure out how to put it all together, still a little rusty out of quarantine. I wasn't sure if I was going to race this week but figured I'd do the 50m just to start swinging the arms over and see how it goes. I was happy to make a final in my first week back. That's good enough for me at the moment," Simpson said.

"To make an open final in the first go around is pretty cool, I'll keep improving as we go. There's a long way to go but I've come a long way in a short amount of time."

But he was also critical of his own performance, according to the Daily Mail. "I probably would have liked to have gone a little quicker, but it was the first race back in a long time and I've only just come out of quarantine," he said.

Cody continued: "Two weeks out of the water sets you back quite a while, but I had to get through the quarantine at some point."

"I just wanted to get up and at least do the 50m to dust myself off."

He added being with being with "champions like Kyle Chalmers, Cate Campbell and Ariarne Titmus has been a humbling and even nerve-wracking experience for Simpson. He would 'shoot the shit' with world champion backstroker Mitch Larkin before his 50m fly final and said even that was slightly surreal."

"It's amazing, just to be around guys that I've watched race over the last five or 10 years when I haven't been in, just keeping up as a swimming fan myself. Now to be two lanes over from one of them, it's surreal.

"Just trying to shoot the shit before it and not get in my head too much... the fact that guys I'm racing I've looked up to for a long time. I'm just glad to be here and be in the mix a few months before June. I'm excited to see what happens with some more training under my belt."

And, of course, his enormous social media presence (six million Twitter followers and four million on Instagram,|according to Swimming World Magazine>) has brought renewed attention to the sport. "I knew there would be a certain amount of people that otherwise wouldn't have watched the sport that may do now because they have followed me in other endeavours and stuff like that," Simpson said.

"Me, just being a lifelong swimmer and fan of swimming, if I can bring more eyeballs to the sport, if that's all I do in the next three or four years, that's good enough for me. It's my favourite sport and it deserves more global recognition. The more people and personalities involved, it can only help with that."