Candice Warner's staggering claim in swimming 'love triangle' saga

Kyle Chalmers, pictured here at the Commonwealth Games.
Candice Warner has spoken out about the dramas surrounding Kyle Chalmers at the Commonwealth Games. Image: Getty

Candice Warner has spoken out about the 'love triangle' drama that threatened to derail Australia's swimming campaign at the Commonwealth Games, suggesting Kyle Chalmers could have handled the situation better.

Chalmers lashed out on social media early in the Games after being asked multiple questions about the situation between himself, Emma McKeon and Cody Simpson.

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McKeon is in a relationship with pop star-turned-swimmer Simpson after briefly dating Chalmers last year, a fact that sparked unfound rumours of a 'love triangle' in the Aussie team.

Chalmers was fuming after being asked about the situation in a press conference last week, revealing the toll the saga has taken on his mental health and saying he felt like leaving the Games and going home.

But Candice Warner - a former elite ironwoman and wife of Aussie cricket star David - has suggested Chalmers might have handled the situation differently if he had his time over again.

Speaking on 'The Back Page' this week, Warner said she was surprised by the way Chalmers responded and suggested he would have been better off completely ignoring the situation.

Given that the rumours had first popped up at the national championships in May, Warner said there should have been a better plan in place to deal with them in Birmingham.

“He knows how to deal with the pressure. Why is he allowing the media to make these comments?” she asked.

“Why hasn’t he put a self-imposed media ban (on himself) until the Games are over? I’m just really a little bit confused by the situation and why he’s engaging with the media.

Emma McKeon and Cody Simpson, pictured here on the pool deck at the Commonwealth Games.
Emma McKeon and Cody Simpson on the pool deck at the Commonwealth Games. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images) (Tim Clayton - Corbis via Getty Images)

“He’s not in the wrong, but he also has the power and ability to stop it and also just to focus on his swim events.

“Should he know how to deal with this pressure? Should he know how to deal with this completely?

“Would there not have been a strategy put into place before these Games? We haven’t just started talking about this now, we’ve been speaking about this love triangle before the Commonwealth Games."

Fellow panellist and veteran journalist Robert Craddock said Chalmers thrives on the spotlight but doesn't handle things well when the headlines are negative.

“It appears to me as if he likes the attention but not the scrutiny - and there is just a fine line between them and they often overlap,” Craddock said.

“I think he’s one of those guys who can’t live with it and can’t live without it and finds it very awkward.

“He’s on Instagram, he’s out there, he’s happy to put himself front and centre but like a lot of swimmers, when it’s big time, when it’s Games time, the force of the coverage hits them hard.”

Kyle Chalmers, pictured here after winning gold in the 100m freestyle at the Commonwealth Games.
Kyle Chalmers made a telling gesture after winning gold in the 100m freestyle at the Commonwealth Games. (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images) (Craig Mercer/MB Media via Getty Images)

Susie O'Neill comes to Kyle Chalmers' defence

But Aussie swimming legend Susie O’Neill said it would be difficult for athletes in this day and age when social media is so prominent in young people's lives.

“I think what they’re struggling with is, if you think about swimmers, they spend 30-40 hours a week trying to improve one one-hundredth of a second - such specific, objective goals,” she said.

“So when they get asked subjective questions not even to do with their sport, you know, reality TV stuff, they’re confused and I think get offended by that.”

Speaking earlier this week, fellow Aussie swimming great Johanna Griggs suggested Chalmers had actually fuelled the story by responding so strongly and should have ignored it.

“He seems to be feeding it, which is the ironic situation with all these sorts of things," Griggs said.

“You can’t just expect the headlines to always be great. You have to accept that occasionally they might be about other people and sometimes they may not necessarily show you in the same light.

“Do I think (the headlines) are affecting Emma McKeon? Absolutely not.

“She’s amazing, right. So she’s proven, without question, that she is able to compartmentalise whatever’s going on.”

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