The Australian swim team have won a gold medal in the relay at the Commonwealth Games despite an awkward love triangle causing drama among some of its members.
Body language from the swimmers on Friday night suggested tensions were running high between a former pop star turned swimmer who has dated Miley Cyrus, his 11-time Olympic medallist girlfriend and her bitter ex.
Aussie star Emma McKeon, who won seven medals at the Tokyo Olympics, dated fellow medley team member Kyle Chalmers for a few months last year.
Since splitting, McKeon has started a relationship with pop star turned swimmer Cody Simpson, who was a child prodigy in the pool and has now returned to the sport.
Exes McKeon and Chalmers joined Mollie O’Callaghan and William Zu Yang in the final of the 4x100m mixed medley relay at the at Sandwell Aquatics Centre but were the only team not to raise their hand in unison before the race kicked off.
Then, despite snagging the gold medal, the celebrations were tinged with awkwardness as McKeon and Chalmers did not shake hands after securing victory on day one of the Birmingham Games.
The Australian swim team have won a gold medal in the mixed relay at the Commonwealth Games despite bad feeling between exes Emma McKeon (far left) and Kyle Chalmers (middle)
The love triangle began when Emma McKeon began dating teammate Cody Simpson (pictured together) after a brief relationship with fellow Aussie swimmer Kyle Chalmers last year
Aussie sprinter William Yang and young gun Mollie O’Callaghan were both quick to shake McKeon’s hand but Chalmers wasn’t interested, instead chatting to the Canadian team.
O’Callaghan then stood between the former couple as the team collected their medals on the podium.
At a subsequent TV interview, Chalmers made sure Yang and O’Callaghan were between him and one time flame McKeon, who is now dating pop star turned swimmer Cody Simpson.
Chalmers also made no reference to McKeon and O’Callaghan when reflecting on the team swim.
‘It is (a bit different swimming in the middle) but it’s still against the boys, right?’ he said.
‘You are still racing against those fastest boys, anyway, so it doesn’t feel that much different.’
Kyle Chalmers still harbours a degree of resentment towards his ex-girlfriend Emma McKeon if his frosty conduct on the first night of competition at the Commonwealth Games is any guide
Emma McKeon (left) and Kyle Chalmers (second from right) generated a frosty atmosphere when they won gold in the 4x100m mixed freestyle relay
To make matters worse for Chalmers, McKeon’s new flame Cody Simpson is also in Birmingham to compete at the games.
Simpson, who has previously dated Miley Cyrus, Bella Thorne and Gigi Hadid, has been a child prodigy but then turned to an acting and music career before returning to the pool in 2019.
Australian swim team officials no doubt felt McKeon and Kyle Chalmers could move on from their turbulent dating past – but the tension from the relationship clearly still remains, at least in the eyes of Chalmers.
At the national trials back in April, Chalmers faced accusations he was trying to push Simpson out of the team when he announced he would take up 50m butterfly for the Commonwealth Games – the same event that Simpson was attempting to qualify for.
Both men eventually secured their spot on the team in the 50m butterfly – but in a shock, failed to qualify for the final in Birmingham, bombing out in their respective semi-finals.
Simpson’s pet event is the 100m butterfly, and he was happy with his efforts in the 50m butterfly semi-final.
Pictured: Swimmers Cody Simpson and Emma McKeon find out they’ve made the team
Pictured: Australian swimmers Cody Simpson and Emma McKeon during a trip to Barcelona
‘It’s good to get that (swim) under my belt early in the week,’ Simpson told Channel 7. ‘It’s special to be here.
‘It’s the fire that never left, never went out. An itch I had to scratch. 2024 (Olympics in Paris) will be a bonus.
‘I’m here to try to get as much experience as I can. I was pretty relieved when they told me I could swim the 50 fly…it’s a good way to get a feel for the pool.’
Aussie head coach Rohan Taylor praised Simspon for the way he has integrated into the team so smoothly.
He said: ‘Cody has a really generous, humble personality, always smiling, always encouraging and supporting.
‘He’s been fantastic, he’s fitted right in no problems. It’s been really enjoyable having him.’
McKeon said: ‘Everyone’s got an opinion on everything and we have a really nice relationship and we love each other’s company and that’s all that matters to us.
‘We get along so well. We’re like best friends. It’s refreshing and peaceful and exciting – I’m really happy.’