An emotional Kyle Chalmers has skipped the announcement of Australia’s swim team, citing mental health issues.
Chalmers says publicity about his change of mind about swimming at next month’s world titles has “taken a massive toll on me”.
“I need to look after my mental health and get myself right as I prepare for a massive year in the pool,” Chalmers posted on Instagram.
“The negative media attention surrounding my decision to compete at the worlds and the made up story lines surrounding my personal life have been more than I can handle.”
Chalmers was named in Australia’s swim team for the worlds and Commonwealth Games, announced in Adelaide on Sunday night at the end of the national championships.
The Olympic 100 metres freestyle gold and silver medallist swam butterfly events only at the nationals.
Prior to the meet, Chalmers said he wouldn’t swim at the world titles in Budapest from June 18 and instead focus solely on the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham starting in late July.
But he changed his mind after strong swims in both the 50m and 100m butterfly events at the nationals and will now also race at the world titles.
His decision effectively ended the chances of pop star Cody Simpson earning selection for the worlds in the 100m ‘fly.
Some reports suggested Chalmers’ backflip was designed to keep Simpson, who is dating swim star Emma McKeon, an ex-girlfriend of Chalmers, off the worlds team.
“After giving my all and being so welcoming to the media all my career, it’s a shame to see them publish story lines questioning my integrity all for the sake of extra clicks and money,” Chalmers wrote.
“The best thing for me now is to take a break at home in Port Lincoln, surrounded by my friends and family.”