Cody Simpson bombed out at the Australian Swimming Championships on Wednesday night in a surprising result that has left his Olympic dreams uncertain.

The 26-year-old’s performance was one of many headline-grabbing results in the Gold Coast pool with Cameron McEvoy taking out the men’s 50m freestyle and Ariarne Titmus blowing the field away in the women’s 400m freestyle.

Simpson, meanwhile, is suddenly facing some hard truths that he may have to think about changing his entire approach with a dream of qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympics in his pet event — the 100m butterfly — suddenly looking imperilled.

The singer-songwriter finished a disappointing eighth in the 100m butterfly final on Wednesday night. His time of 53.48 seconds was two seconds slower than national champion Matthew Temple’s impressive swim of 51.49 seconds.

The even bigger problem for Simpson is the rise of the next generation of Australia’s fly swimmers coming through.

Australia's Cody Simpson looks at his time after the butterfly on Wednesday night.
Australia’s Cody Simpson looks at his time after the butterfly on Wednesday night.Source: AFP

The men’s 100m butterfly is now one of the deepest events in Australian swimming with Simpson, Temple, superfish Kyle Chalmers (who finished fourth), Olympian David Morgan and a squad of emerging talents all competing to represent Australia in the event in Paris next year.

Ben Armbruster, 20, was second on Wednesday, just 0.47 seconds behind Temple. Jesse Coleman, 18, also showed he is a real threat with a time of 52.59.

Armbruster is emerging as a future star of Aussie swimming after also finishing fourth in the men’s 50m freestyle earlier on Wednesday. He also took out the 50m butterfly and the 100m backstroke earlier this meet.

There are a lot of sharks in the water when it comes to the 100m butterfly.

“I think it’s very exciting,” Temple said of the hot competition. “It always keeps you on your toes with people coming up.

“And yeah, for those boys – I know Jesse had a big week last week (at Australian age titles) – and Ben to go under 52 twice in one day with also the 50 free, credit to him.”

As reported by News Corp, Simpson now faces the reality that his best chance of competing in Paris may be to switch his attention to the 100m freestyle as a relay swimmer.

Simpson was super impressive in the butterfly at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, finishing fifth in the event. Temple picked up the silver medal.

However, Simpson enjoyed his greatest success in the relays — coming away with a gold and a silver medal for swimming in the heats of the 4x100m men’s freestyle relay and 4x100m medley relay.

It is a long year for swimmers. Picture: Nigel Hallett
It is a long year for swimmers. Picture: Nigel HallettSource: News Corp Australia

With the Aussie team carrying up to six freestyle swimmers for the relay events at the Olympics, it appears the safest bet to secure a spot on the plane to Paris.

Simpson is back in the pool on Thursday swimming in the 100m freestyle heats and it will be another judgement day.

With just 15 months to go before the Paris Games, the decision of what path he should walk is one Simpson must make very soon.

The Australian trials, held in Melbourne in June, ahead of the World Championships, held in Fukuoka, Japan, in July, will be crunch time for Simpson to make a decision.

He has repeatedly said Paris is his ultimate goal and remains well ahead of where he thought he would be heading towards an Olympics debut.

Simpson’s disappointing result on Wednesday night will leave swimming analysts scratching their heads. The time was more than 1.6 seconds slower than his personal best.

It is very likely Simpson will smash the times he set this week when it gets to business time at the Aussie trials.

The pop star started his swimming comeback journey just three years ago after 10 years away from the pool and he did it as something of a sideshow alley attraction. In Birmingham he proved he is box-office on his swimming credentials alone.

“I want to inspire young people to know that they can do whatever it is they want to do, even if they feel like it’s too late or they’re too old to pick something up, because it’s never too late,” he said in Birmingham.

“I think with experience comes confidence. And I’m still gathering the experience, so still gaining confidence.

Cody Simpson had plenty to celebrate in the Birmingham pool. Picture: Michael Klein
Cody Simpson had plenty to celebrate in the Birmingham pool. Picture: Michael KleinSource: News Corp Australia

“I am happy to be here. And I think, win or lose today, I’m going to go back to the drawing board and make sure I come back stronger. I’m already way ahead where I thought I would be at this stage.”

In reflecting on his achievements in the pool last year, Simpson posted on Instagram: “I had remained off social media for the duration of the Commonwealth Games and a few days thereafter, but today I’ve re-downloaded it to an overwhelming flood of supportive and congratulatory messages,” he wrote on his story, alongside a photo of his two medals.

“My first Commonwealth Games done & dusted. For me, the very act of training morning and night and the thrill of racing is rewarding enough — but to walk away from my international swimming debut with a gold and silver medal (for my swims in the men’s 4×100 freestyle and 4×100 medley relay heats) is something beyond articulation for now.

“Thanks all. Ready to go back to work, keep improving on my individual events and perhaps explore new territory. I’m honoured to represent Australia and represent all the kids who decide to walk steadfastly in the direction their dreams, it’s never too late!”