Kyle Chalmers is buoyed by a minor milestone in the first stage of his quest to claim the missing piece of his storied swimming career.
The Australian logged his fastest-ever 100 metres freestyle heat time at the world championships in Japan on Wednesday.
Chalmers clocked 47.41 seconds in Fukuoka to be third-fastest into the night’s semi-finals with compatriot Flynn Southam (48.18) also advancing, ranked 11th.
“It was good, it’s my fastest heat swim I have ever done,” Chalmers said.
“For me it’s about getting through the rounds … swimming pretty similar tonight – hopefully it will be a bit faster, at night time I’m a whole lot faster.”
Chalmers has won almost everything swimming can offer – individual Olympic individual gold, multiple international relay golds, individual and relay Commonwealth Games gold medals.
But the 100m freestyle world title has so far eluded the South Australian – he has won two silvers at the past two championships.
Romania’s world record holder David Popovici (47.90) was sixth-quickest through the heats with Great Britain’s Matthew Richards (47.59) topping times.
Richards was following his shock 200m freestyle gold on Tuesday night when Popovici surprisingly missed the medals.
“No one is invincible,” Chalmers said of Popovici.
“I have been in the sport a long time and have learnt that through my years, that is a lesson he is probably starting to learn now.”
Australia’s Mollie O’Callaghan withdrew from the women’s 50m backstroke heats, with her focus squarely on Wednesday night’s 200m freestyle final.
Compatriot Kaylee McKeown was fourth-fastest through the morning 50m backstroke heats, racing again after winning the 100m backstroke gold on Tuesday night.
McKeown clocked 27.60 seconds, with American Regan Smith – who took silver behind the Australian in Tuesday night’s medal race – best in 27.31.
In the women’s 200m butterfly, Australia’s Liz Dekkers and Abbey Connor moved into the semi-finals with strong heat swims.
Dekkers (2:07.71) qualified second-fastest with Connor (2:10.04) ranked 12th.
Australia’s 4x100m mixed medley team of Brad Woodward, Sam Williamson, Emma McKeon, Shayna Jack posted 3:40.87 to be second-quickest qualifiers behind the United States for Wednesday night’s medal race.
And in the men’s 200m individual medley, Thomas Neill advanced into the semi-finals, touching in one minute 58.30 seconds to be ranked eighth while teammate Brendon Smith (1:59.03) also progressed, ranked 15th.
(Australian Associated Press)