Australian swimmer Kyle Chalmers has bounced back from a devastating admission about wanting to return home, by setting a new Commonwealth Games record in the semi-finals of the 100m freestyle in Birmingham.
Chalmers' participation in the Games has been overshadowed by rumours in the media that he is at the centre of a 'love triangle' controversy with Aussie swim teammates Emma McKeon and Cody Simpson.
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The 24-year-old - who used to date McKeon - on Saturday blasted media reports about his relationships with his ex and Simpson, who have recently gone public with their own romance.
Chalmers labelled reports of a rift in the swim team because of the so-called love triangle as "honestly, just a load of s*** that is not true".
The Olympic champion admitted that it took all his mental resolve to swim the 100m freestyle heats on Sunday morning, after being bombarded by questions from the media less than a day earlier.
“For me it took all my courage and all my energy just to stand behind the blocks and swim this morning. It’s not something that I wanted to do. It’s not something that I wanted to go through, to be honest with you," Chalmers told fellow Aussie swimming legend Cate Campbell in an interview at poolside.
“I’ve been so excited for this moment for such a long period of time and been working hard to be here for such a long time. For how it’s unfolded, yeah, definitely makes me question my future in the sport.”
He later made the devastating admission to reporters at the Games that he wanted to return home in the wake of the controversy.
"For me, it took every little bit of courage to get out of bed this morning and stand on the blocks and race," he told reporters.
"I want to be on a plane home and be done with it all.
"It is very, very overwhelming and upsetting.
"I don't want any of this.
"I love being part of the Australian swimming team, I love standing in front of big crowds and swimming fast.
"But for me, it's taking too much of a toll on my mental health."
Incredibly, Chalmers brushed off the drama to set a new Commonwealth Games record in the semi-finals of the 100m freestyle, qualifying fastest for the final with a blistering 47.36 seconds.
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Speaking earlier at the Games about the mental toll that the 'love triangle' drama had taken Chalmers referred to it as the "hardest 12 hours in my sporting career".
"Injury, family issues, things like that that can go wrong, it's in your control," Chalmers said.
"Things like this, it's out of your control.
"It is extremely hard and extremely challenging, especially when you are on the other side of the world and don't have your direct support network around you."
His mother was in tears when Chalmers spoke with her on Saturday night.
"It embarrasses me that my grandparents have to read the stuff that gets put in the media, it upsets me that I have to go home to my mum crying on Facetime," he said.
"To have words put in my mouth and false information spread, trying to create cracks on the team ... I have never had a rivalry with anyone.
"I get along really well with my rivals. I get along with my teammates."
Australian swimming legend Ian Thorpe advised Chalmers to stop reading the media.
"Talking about going from the hero to the villain," Thorpe told the Seven Network.
"We're talking about someone that doesn't feel as though they're in control of the narrative around their own story.
"The things that I have read, and saying that you're at breaking point, rock bottom kind of area, this is concerning.
"When he says he's almost at breaking point, it's almost as though it's the straw that broke the camel's back."
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