Champ McEvoy plots course for Paris with title defence

Cameron McEvoy will defend his world championship in Doha, headlining a team set to be without most of its Olympics-bound stars.

February's championships, the third in less than 20 months, will finish just 159 days before the Paris Games begin on July 26.

It means the likes of Kyle Chalmers, Ariarne Titmus, Mollie O’Callaghan, Kaylee McKeown and the injured Emma McKeon will sit out the event.

But newly crowned 50m freestyle champion McEvoy and 2022 400m world champ Elija Winnington will be among the group of about 20 set to be announced on Friday.

It puts the rejuvenated 29-year-old on a collision course with  Great Britain star Ben Proud - the fifth-fastest man in the history of the event (22.11 seconds).

McEvoy swam 21.84 to win the Queensland championship on Tuesday night after notching a new personal best of 21.06 - the fourth-fastest time in history - in Japan to win world championship gold. 

The gap between the Brisbane meet and Doha's racing is similar to the NSW championships and the crucial Olympic qualification trials in June.

"It's going to be pretty rough, Ben's going to be on, but it'll be a really good pre-Paris experience," McEvoy said. 

"Fukuoka was my first international 50m final, so to have another one of them and have been in top form is a good experience."

A bulked-up McEvoy, a former 100m specialist, ripped up the textbook after a year-long sabbatical following his third Olympics in Tokyo.

The physics graduate has drastically reduced his training volume and increased the intensity in a move that has helped him fall back in love with the sport - and go faster.

"Within nine months I went from not enjoying the sport at all, feeling I was at the back door of my career, to being world champ, hitting PBs (personal bests) and brushing up against the world record," McEvoy said.

"How much effort and struggle I put in ... it was almost like it was inversely proportional with results.

"To have a year off, redevelop how I view the sport, redevelop how to actually physically do the sport, for it to pay off and be close to where I think my potential is, I'm very proud."

He said he wouldn't rule out a tilt at the 100m at Brisbane's trials next year, but would only pursue a berth if the 50m event is held before it.

In Paris the 4x100m men's relay will open the program, giving McEvoy enough time to recover for his main event later in the week.

"I've gone all-in on the 50, hyper-aligned to it because the 100 rocks me more afterwards," he said.

"The technique is insanely different ... to me it's the same difference as freestyle to butterfly or breaststroke."

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