Superstar musician turned competitive swimmer, Cody Simpson is known well beyond the pool. With a social media following of over 4.5 million followers on Instagram, Simpson is the most-followed professional swimmer on the social media platform.
Simpson was born in Meadowbrook, Queensland, Australia and took to the pool from a young age. In 2009 at the age of 12, he won the Queensland Age Group Championship in the 100m butterfly while training at Miami Swimming Club under coach Ken Nixon. However, he moved away from the sport of swimming around that same time as his music career began to take off. Within a year, he released his first single “iYiYi” and moved to the United States to pursue music full time.
Over the next decade, Simpson released 4 albums, Paradise (2012), Surfers Paradise (2013), Free (2015), and Cody Simpson (2022). In 2019, Simpson announced his return to competitive swimming.
2019-2020 Return to Competitive Swimming
In May 2019, Simpson teased his return to the sport of swimming with a Youtube video titled “Cody Simpson swimming the Butterfly stroke (2019)”, displaying a decent butterfly stroke.
Simpson later officially announced his return to swimming over social media, joining USC’s Trojan Elite Swim Club in Los Angeles under Dave Salo. He raced in his first meet in almost a decade in October of 2019, competing at a meet at USC. There, he raced the 100 yard butterfly, swimming a time of 51.51(23.50/28.01) to finish 24th out of 29 entrants. Simpson also competed in the 200 freestyle relay, splitting 21.27 to help Trojan Swim Club’s team to an 8th place finish in a time of 1:23.55.
After moving to train under Brett Hawke, Simpson qualified for the Australian Olympic Trials in the 100 butterfly in December 2020. Racing at a local meet, Simpson posted a time of 54.9 in the race, which was under the Olympic Trials time standard of 56.87.
2021 Australian Olympic Trials
In the lead-up to the Australian Olympic Trials meet, Simpson continued to show progression in the pool, posting a new best time of 53.85 in the long course 100 butterfly. With his time, he became the 10th fastest Australian man in the event from September 1, 2020 to February 2021, setting himself up well for the upcoming meet. At the same meet, Simpson also hit the Olympic Trials qualifying standard of 52.90 in the 100 freestyle.
In the 100 butterfly prelims at the 2021 Australian Olympic Trials, Simpson logged a personal best of 52.84 to advance to finals as the 6th fastest qualifier, giving himself the opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Games. However, he failed to match his prelims time in finals, ultimately finishing 8th in the heat. Just after the completion of Olympic Trials, Simpson announced his move to Queensland, Australia to train under Michael Bohl at Griffith Swimming Club, alongside Olympians Emma McKeon and Lani Pallister.
2022 Australian Swimming Championships
After taking a short break from competition following Olympic Trials, Simpson entered the 2022 Australian Swimming Championships riding the momentum of his previous summer. On the first day of the competition, Simpson swam the 100 butterfly prelims, swimming a massive best time of 51.79 to take the second seed for the final ahead of Olympic gold medalist Kyle Chalmers. The time also marked another milestone for Simpson, as he hit a FINA-A cut for the first time in his career.
In finals, Simpson was out only .01 off of Chalmers and slightly behind Matthew Temple, and he stayed right with both swimmers down the final stretch of the race, touching third in a time of 51.96. Initially, it appeared as though Simpson’s swim would qualify him for the 2022 World Championships in Hungary as Chalmers said that he did not intend to race at the meet. However, Chalmers was later given the spot in the event, but Simpson still managed to qualify to represent Australia at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, his first international team. Simpson shared a video of his reaction to officially making the team on Instagram:
Simpson also finished 4th in the 50 butterfly at the same competition with a best time of 23.68.