Pop star Cody Simpson's bid to qualify for the Australian Olympic swim team has taken a curious twist after he failed to turn up for a race he was listed to compete in.
The Aussie is preparing for the Australian Swimming Championships, despite having just got out of quarantine.
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After stunning fans around the world last year by announcing his return to his "first love" of swimming, the 24-year-old has set his sights on representing Australia in the pool at the Olympic Games.
However, the 24-year-old was a mysterious no-show for the second heat of the 100m butterfly at the Gold Coast meet, despite being listed to race in the event.
Simpson could still race in Saturday's 50m butterfly, having only recently come out of quarantine in Darwin.
The Australian National Swimming Championships is one of the major meets before June's Olympic trials in Adelaide.
Simpson turned heads earlier in the week after showing off his ripped physique during a training session on the Gold Coast.
He was also spotted on Thursday chatting poolside with Aussie Olympic swimming legend Ian Thorpe.
Last year, the former pop star gave himself a shot at competing in the Tokyo Games after smashing the qualifying benchmark of 56.87 seconds, with a time of 54.9s in the 100m butterfly.
Simpson had been training in the United States with Aussie Olympian Brett Hawke, before his recent return to Australia to compete.
While he had posted plenty of workout videos over the last few months, Simpson still caused a stir after appearing at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre for a training session.
Simpson gearing up for Olympic trials
He is set to compete in the Olympic trials in Adelaide this June in an attempt to gain a ticket to Tokyo.
Last year, coach Hawke said Simpson was dedicated to a four-year plan regardless of this current Olympic trial outcome.
“Our goal is to be as fast as we can possibly be this year and just keep building on that,” Hawke told said on Afternoon Sport with former Australian cricketer Shane Lee and sports presenter Tim Gilbert.
“He’s looking at this as a four-year plan, he’s committed to four years.
“He had a conversation with (Olympic legend) Michael Phelps who told him, ‘You can’t do anything in under four years, you’ve got to commit to that’ so he said, ‘OK, I’ll agree to that, I’ll give it four years’.
“He’s looking from the age of 23-27 here and that’s prime athletic age for anybody.
“I think that’s the best chance he’ll have, to make an Olympic team four years from now.
“We’re not putting any limits on where we’re going with this, but at the same time we’re not telling people, ‘This is the goal’.
“We want to get better every day and see where it takes us.”
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