'This is brutal': Aussie swimming rocked by 'devastating' moment

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Matt Wilson, pictured here in tears after missing out on qualifying for the Olympics.
Matt Wilson was in tears in the pool after missing out on qualifying for the Olympics. Image: Amazon Prime

Aussie swimming fans were left heartbroken on Tuesday night when breaststroker Matt Wilson missed out on qualifying for the Olympics by 0.24 seconds.

Zac Stubblety-Cook powered to the second-fastest 200m breaststroke time in history, narrowly missing the world record.

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But it was absolute heartbreak for Wilson despite finishing second.

The 22-year-old's time of 2:08.57 was just 0.24 seconds outside the qualifying time specified by Swimming Australia.

The Aussie swim team sets the qualifying time at the eighth-fastest time at the previous World Championships.

Wilson was in tears in the pool after the race after his unthinkable bad luck continued.

Wilson won the same event at the Olympic trials in 2016 but was 0.26s shy of the qualifying mark, missing the Rio team.

“Oh no, can you believe it?” commentator Jon Harker said on Amazon Prime

“What a performance from Stubblety-Cook but heartbreak again for Matt Wilson. There’ll be tears aplenty."

Grant Hackett added: “It’s brutal, you have the extreme highs and the extreme lows.”

Stubblety-Cook felt for his rival, saying: "It's pretty gut-wrenching seeing that. 

"It's just the nature of the sport. It's tough, there's no other word for it."

Zac Stubblety-Cook, pictured here in action at the Australian Olympic swimming trials.
Zac Stubblety-Cook in action at the Australian Olympic swimming trials in Adelaide. (Photo by MICHAEL ERREY/AFP via Getty Images)

Wilson also lost his Commonwealth record to Stubblety-Cook, whose time of 2:06:28 was the second-fastest ever and just 0.16s off the world record of Russian Anton Chupkov.

"I'm just ecstatic," he said. "I went into tonight just looking to execute a process and I swam well.

"I was pretty happy with where my 100 was at and knew that my forte was the back end. Matt going out pretty fast was helpful in the end.

"It'll be great to race someone like Chupkov at the Olympics because we race quite similar."

Apart from Stubblety-Cook, only Chupkov and Japan's Shoma Sato have dipped under 2:07 this year and will be key rivals, as will Kazakhstan's defending Olympic champion Dmitriy Balandin.

In an upset, neither Stubblety-Cook nor Wilson qualified for the 100m breaststroke earlier in the week.

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Kyle Chalmers secures Olympics title defence

Elsewhere, Kyle Chalmers comfortably booked a ticket to defend his Olympic 100m freestyle crown, recording to the third-fastest time this year.

Chalmers, who stunned the swimming world when he claimed gold in Rio as an 18-year-old, hit the wall in 47.59 as he stepped up preparations for an expected showdown in Japan with American superstar Caeleb Dressel.

While Chalmers outpaced Dressel in Rio, he was pipped to the 2019 world title by the American.

"A lot of pressure on that one. I was relieved after qualifying in the 200, but to get my main race and swim just 0.1 slower than was in Rio is pretty good. It was my first 47 in a while," said Chalmers.

"It's exciting," he added of defending an Olympic title.

The 22-year-old had already ensured he would be in Japan by winning the 200m and he will be joined in the 100m by Matthew Temple (48.32), who will also race the 200m butterfly.

Elsewhere, Maddie Gough smashed the Australian record by six seconds in the 1500m freestyle, touching in 15:46.13, second only to American great Katie Ledecky this year in an event that will make its Olympic debut.

with agencies

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