Australia’s Zac Stubblety-Cook has set a world record for the 200m breaststroke at the national championships in Adelaide.
Stubblety-Cook clocked two minutes 05.95 seconds in Thursday night’s final.
His time bettered the previous world benchmark of 2:06.12 set by Russian Anton Chupkov in 2019.
The quietly-spoken 23-year-old is arguably Australia’s lowest-profile Olympic swimming champion.
Stubblety-Cook’s 200m breaststroke triumph at last year’s Tokyo Olympics was overshadowed by the multiple gold-medal winning feats of the likes of Emma McKeon and Kaylee McKeown.
🚨NEW WORLD RECORD🚨
— FINA (@fina1908) May 19, 2022
The Brisbane-born athlete who cites being curious, driven and stubborn as his top-three character traits had pondered breaking the world record in his pet event.
But it wasn’t a burning motivation.
“It’s a bit surreal to be perfectly honest. It doesn’t feel real,” Stubblety-Cook said.
“It will probably sink in over the next few days.
“I was obviously hoping to swim fast and hoping to swim close to my best but that is just something else.”
WORLD RECORD! WHAT. A. SWIM. Zac Stubblety-Cook in the Men's 200m Breaststroke Final!
🥇 Zac Stubblety-Cook 2:05.95
🥈 Matthew Wilson 2:10.14
🥉 Adam Selwood 2:13.68#2022AusTrials
— Swimming Australia (@SwimmingAUS) May 19, 2022
But while he’d fleetingly thought of breaking the world record, he said it wasn’t on his radar entering the Adelaide meet.
“I had thought about it … but I never have been like ‘yes, that’s it, I want to break the world record’,” he said.
“It happened obviously … but I didn’t think we were going that fast.”
Stubblety-Cook’s benchmark came on a night when Kyle Chalmers signalled a backflip that will deny pop star Cody Simpson an international swimming debut at the looming world titles.
Chalmers had announced he won’t swim at next month’s worlds in Budapest.
But after winning the 50-metre butterfly and finishing second in the 100-metre butterfly in Adelaide, Chalmers is set to reverse that decision.
His likely change of mind will prevent Simpson from making his Australian debut at the world titles.
The top two in each final at the nationals earn selection for the worlds, with the top three securing a Commonwealth Games berth.
Chalmers finished second behind Matt Temple in Wednesday night’s 100-metre butterfly final, with Simpson third.
With no Chalmers, selectors were expected to pick Simpson for the 100-metre ‘fly at the worlds. But with Chalmers, Simpson will be squeezed out.
“You can’t make me out to be the villain,” Chalmers said after his 50-metre ‘fly victory on Thursday night.
“For me, it’s unfortunate it probably takes Cody’s spot away.”
Simpson remains assured of selection for the Commonwealth Games in July-August.
Other Thursday night winners included McKeown (women’s 4×100-metre medley), Brianna Throssell (women’s 100-metre butterfly), Chelsea Hodges (women’s 50-metre breaststroke) and Zac Incerti (men’s 200-metre freestyle).