Kyle Chalmers has fallen just short in his bid to reach the 200m freestyle final in Tokyo. Picture: Matt Roberts
Kyle Chalmers has fallen just short in his bid to reach the 200m freestyle final in Tokyo. Picture: Matt Roberts

‘It sucks’: Pan Pacs shock as Chalmers misses final

OLYMPIC sprint champion Kyle Chalmers has failed to make the final of the 200m at the Pan Pacs in Tokyo despite claiming the event may have been his best chance at the meet.

Chalmers headed into the event as one of the favourites after winning the 200m at the Commonwealth Games.

But under Pan Pac rules that state each country can have only two swimmers in the final, the man dubbed the "Big Tuna" was racing his Australian teammates as well as the rest of the field and needed to produce a strong morning swim.

Gold Coaster Alex Graham (1min 46.35sec) and Brisbane's Jack Cartwright (1:46.38) were the best of the Australians, both producing scintillating morning swims in their heats.

But Cartwright has withdrawn from the final, with coach Dean Boxall saying the swimmer had been interested only in posting a time good enough to claim a spot in the 4x200m relay.

Clyde Lewis (1:46.42) and Chalmers (1:46.62) made the B final, but Chalmers withdrew to concentrate on Friday's 100m final, with Lewis moving into the A final in place of Cartwright.

Mack Horton also failed to make the A final but said the morning performances from the Australians were strong pointer for the relay.

"We were all quick this morning which is good, the relay's going to be looking strong," he said.

"I was fifth so I might not get a relay swim, but I'm very happy for those guys to go fast this morning."

Horton (1:46.66) and Elijah Winnington (1:47.47) will swim in the B final.

Chalmers won the Commonwealth Games with a swim of 1:45.56 and was out for a strong showing in Tokyo.

But he said he was happy with his heat swim, a time that was his fastest morning swim, in an event he was still working out.

"We knew that it was going to be fast swimming this morning because you knew that you had to make the top two Australians to be in that final," Chalmers said.

"I gave it everything I had. I was half a second faster than I was at Commonwealth Games in the heat and that's the fastest I've ever been in the morning.

"I'm actually really happy with that. I know my coach will be happy, but in the back of your mind you're still a bit disappointed because you want to be in that A final.

"To not have that opportunity does suck."

Chalmers has emerged as a 100m specialist but believes his best could lie in the 200m given his withering back-end speed and love of pushing his limits.

But he conceded he was still learning how to master the four-lap event.

"I'm definitely still learning to swim it, obviously I haven't done a whole lot of it, especially internationally," he said.

"It's my first time racing it against the Americans who were strong right through from heat one this morning.

"I've got the 100m tomorrow and I've still got time to redeem myself here."

In other events, Mikkayla Sheridan (1:58.05) and Maddy Groves (1:58.80) qualified for the A final of the 200m freestyle, while Jess Hansen (1:06.63) was fourth-fastest for the 100m breaststroke and Jake Packard (59.81) and Matt Wilson (59.90) both qualified for the men's final.