Emma McKeon in injury drama as Cody Simpson takes huge step towards Olympics

Cody Simpson's latest Olympic Games statement came amid a sad setback for his girlfriend, Emma McKeon.

Pictured left to right is Cody Simpson and girlfriend Emma McKeon.
Cody Simpson's superb new PB came as girlfriend Emma McKeon was sidelined from competition with injury. Pic: Instagram/Getty

Cody Simpson's Olympic Games dream is alive and kicking after a superb swim on a night of drama at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre. On the same night his superstar girlfriend Emma McKeon was ruled out of action with injury, Simpson equalled the qualifying time for the Paris Games in 2024 after setting a blistering new personal best to win the Queensland 100m butterfly title.

The former pop star shaved an impressive 0.11 seconds off his former PB after winning in 51.67 on Monday night, to raise his hopes of individual qualification for the Olympic Games. The 26-year-old followed up his sensation swim in his pet event by finishing fifth in the 100m freestyle final.

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Simpson will attempt to qualify for Paris in the 100m butterfly and 100m freestyle events. The men's qualifying time for the 2024 Games in the 100m freestyle is 48.34 and the 100m butterfly time is the 51.67 that he just swam.

His best time in the 100m freestyle is 49.11, meaning he is more likely to earn qualification for the freestyle as part of a relay team. The singer-turned swimmer has previously indicated he will return to a career in the music industry when his journey in the pool has come to a conclusion.

The 26-year-old put his music career on hold to return to the pool in 2020, making the 100m butterfly final at the 2021 Olympic trials but missing a spot on Australia's Olympic Games team. He then won gold and silver medals at the Commonwealth Games for heat swims in the 4x100m freestyle and 4x100m medley relays in Birmingham last year.

But his latest solo efforts put him in the frame for an individual berth that could be secured at June's Olympic trials at the same venue, where Australian record holder Matthew Temple (50.45) is expected to set the pace. Simpsons's new PB puts him equal ninth on the Australian rankings in the 100m butterfly with Olympian Chris Wright.

"I'm so glad it was here tonight," Simpson said of his new benchmark. "It's awesome to be looking forward to Olympic trials; it's really important to race well. I grew up racing in this pool and it's great to get a Queensland open championship."

Emma McKeon sidelined with injury

While it was a night to savour for Simpson, that same couldn't be said for his girlfriend McKeon, who was forced to sit out of the Brisbane meet with a torn muscle. Australia's most decorated Olympian was due to race alongside Cate Campbell in Monday's 100m freestyle heats, but her lane remained empty.

McKeon's coach Michael Bohl later revealed that the 11-time Olympic medallist had been withdrawn as a "precaution" after she'd been managing "a minor tear under her armpit for some weeks". Mckeon's absence came after medical advice that she shouldn't rush back into competition too soon.

The 29-year-old created history at the Tokyo Games in 2021 when she took home seven medals, including four gold, for the greatest haul by any female swimmer at a single Olympic Games. McKeon's astonishing represented the joint-most medals across any sport with Soviet gymnast Maris Gorokhovskaya, who set the record in 1952.

Seen here, Aussie swimmer Emma McKeon.
An injury saw Emma McKeon sit out the Brisbane meet on Monday night. Pic: Getty

The championships are the last meet of the year and Olympic trials will take place from June 10, some five weeks before the 2024 Games in Paris. The meet also served as Cate Campbell's first steps towards becoming the first Australian to swim at five Olympics. The 31-year-old, who has returned this year after a lengthy break following the Tokyo Games, finished third in the 100m freestyle final.

Campbell clocked 53.23 to finish behind Meg Harris (53.03) and Shayna Jack (52.76). Meantime, Ariarne Titmus marked her first title since revealing in September that she'd had benign tumours removed from an ovary, by cruising to victory in the 400m freestyle final.

with AAP

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