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Cate Campbell keeps powder dry but driven for Commonwealth Games, Tokyo 2020

by ZwemZa on July 17th, 2017

Cate Campbell won’t be in the water at FINA world championships in Hungary but the world record holder has told Swimming Australia her competitive fires are burning once more heading into the Commonwealth Games and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Since a difficult meet at the Rio Olympics, where she won gold in the dominant 4×100 metres freestyle relay but missed medals in her pet sprint events (100m, 50m), Campbell has taken a softly-softly approach in her return to the pool.

 

Sprint queen Cate Campbell has been enjoying her time away from swimming. Photo: Robert Shakespeare

After an initial break to digest the performance in Brazil, the Brisbane 25-year-old rejoined coach Simon Cusack’s squad, which includes sister Bronte, but has yet to fully commit herself to the kind of grind required to get back in prime shape for major events.

She elected to sit out the world championships, the swimming component of which begins over the weekend in Budapest, and has spoken about the healing powers of enjoying life outside of swimming.

 

Australian Olympic gold medal winning sisters, Cate and Bronte Campbell show off their barista skills at the Australian Open. Photo: Getty Images

Campbell raced in a number of meets in Europe throughout their summer and has returned to support Bronte and her Dolphins teammates in their first major hit-out since Rio, which returned two individual golds but raised questions about some key performances on the big stage.

So content has Campbell been with her semi-disconnection from swimming that some in the sport were wondering if she would rediscover the kind of dedication required for the gruelling task of climbing another Olympic mountain.
But Swimming Australia chief executive Mark Anderson insists Campbell has set her sights on being at the top of her game for a home Commonwealth Games and the onto Tokyo two years later.

“Absolutely. I connected with her and she’s absolutely committed and wants to race in Tokyo. The thing we are doing differently in this [Olympic] cycle is we are taking a very individual approach, Cate is a great example of that,” Anderson said.

Support: Cate Campbell is comforted by Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom and Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen after her shock 100m loss. Photo: Delly Carr / Swimming Australia Ltd“She’s had a long international career so having some time out, being able to freshen up, it’s very good for her as a person and an athlete.

“She’s enjoying the time but she’s still swimming and still training. But she’s taking the pressure off and enjoying life and the sport. At the appropriate time, she will ramp things up and is very much looking forward to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

“No concerns at all about her [motivation]. She’s got a view to 2020 and we’re pacing her throughout that.”

Campbell is a former world champion and 100m freestyle record holder but there are any number of challenges ahead of her in the near future, not the least being another tilt at what would be her fourth Olympic Games.

The super Swede Sarah Sjostrom, a great rival and friend of Campbell, went within 0.02s of her 100m mark of 52.06s and could well lower that extraordinary mark in Budapest.

And on the Gold Coast, while the superpower Americans won’t be in attendance, teenager Penny Oleksiak, who shared gold with US sprinter Simone Manuel in Brazil, will headline the charge of the rising Canadians.

Then there is Bronte, who will defend her 50m-100m world championship double in Hungary after a stunning meet a year out from Rio that set her up as one of the major contenders for Olympic gold.

Like Cate, Bronte struggled to reproduce that form and the younger of the siblings will be aiming to atone. She will also spearhead the sprint freestyle, which could be under threat for the first time in years with its regular anchor keeping her powder dry.

Phil Lutton | SMH

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