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Chalmers blasts past rivals amid swim storm

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Kyle Chalmers has smashed his rivals to qualify fastest for tonight’s Commonwealth Games 100m freestyle final just hours after saying he felt like flying home amid controversy about the false reporting of a supposed love triangle with his ex-girlfriend Emma McKeon and her new partner Cody Simpson.

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After blasting the false reporting on Saturday night and revealing the impact it was having on his mental health after his heat swim, Chalmers clocked the second-fastest time 100m free time this year in the semi-final.

The Adelaide swimmer earlier said it took all his tenacity to swim the 100m freestyle heats on Sunday morning in Birmingham.

“For me, it took every little bit of courage to get out of bed this morning and stand on the blocks and race,” Chalmers told reporters after his heat swim on Sunday.

“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.”

Chalmers dated McKeon last year but they split up, with McKeon now dating Simpson.

He labelled reports of a rift in the swim team because of the so-called love triangle as “honestly, just a load of shit that is not true”.

Chalmers said he was questioning whether to continue swimming.

On Sunday morning, he again spoke of the toll on his mental health.

“It has been the hardest 12 hours in my sporting career,” he said.

“Injury, family issues, things like that that can go wrong, it’s in your control.

“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.

Like Chalmers, McKeon also shut out the media storm to become the most successful athlete in Commonwealth Games history.

McKeon captured the 11th gold medal of her storied Commonwealth Games career by winning the 50m freestyle on Sunday night.

The Wollongong wonder eclipses the previous record for most Commonwealth golds – 10 – by Australian swimmers Susie O’Neill, Ian Thorpe and Leisel Jones.

“It’s really nice to be mentioned alongside some of those names and I will be part of that history for years to come, hopefully,” McKeon said.

“They’re the ones who inspired me when I was young. I remember watching them on TV and that lit the fire in me to be where I am now.”

Meanwhile, Australia has set a world record in the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay to win Commonwealth Games gold in Birmingham.

The relayers – Madison Wilson, Kiah Melverton, Mollie O’Callaghan and Ariarne Titmus – broke China’s landmark time of last year.

The Australians clocked seven minutes 39.29 seconds, bettering China’s mark of 7:40.33.

– AAP

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