NICK D’Arcy’s Commonwealth Games gold medal dreams have been shattered after the Kawana swimmer missed qualification for tonight’s 200m butterfly final.
D’Arcy, who went into his heat as a heavy favourite, failed to fire, finished ninth overall with a time of 1:58.48, missing tonight's final by 0.06 seconds.
He was hoping to complete a dream comeback after he was banned from the 2008 Olympics and last year's world championships for assaulting former teammate Simon Cowley.
Despite being clearly the fastest man in the Commonwealth this year, D’Arcy struggled to keep up with the pace of Canadian Stefan Hirniak and looked fatigued in the late stages of the race.
D'Arcy was in tears after his event.
"After everything that's happened the last couple of years, this one cuts pretty deep," he told Channel 10.
"To get knocked out is pretty hard to take. I have to look to the future now."
The 23-year-old was seeking one of eight gold medals on offer on the first day of competition at the Delhi Games.
The Queenslander received a suspended 14-month jail sentence in March last year, but has returned to the upper echelon of Australian swimming.
D'Arcy was a contender for the 200m butterfly gold, while compatriot Emily Seebohm starts her punishing program which could reap eight medals in Delhi and propel her to stardom.
The 18-year-old Seebohm was favoured to win the 200m individual medley on Monday.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.