Campbell primed for 100m title defence
Inspired by Australia’s backstroke heroics, Cate Campbell is primed for her 100m freestyle defence at the world swimming championships in Russia.
But she won’t have it all her own way in Kazan after sharing the fastest 100m heats time on day five with Swede Sarah Sjostrom (53.22 seconds).
Campbell’s sister Bronte (53.50) was third fastest ahead of Thursday night’s semi-finals.
Cate Campbell said she was pumped after a four-day break in racing since day one’s 4x100m freestyle relay gold thanks to backstroke champs Emily Seebohm and Mitch Larkin.
Seebohm – who also shared in the relay win – claimed the 100m backstroke title in Kazan, her first individual gold at her fifth world championship.
And pint-sized Larkin later defied giants Camille Lacourt of France and the US’ defending champion Matt Grevers to touch them out for 100m backstroke gold.
“I shed a few tears seeing Em finally make it on top of the podium,” Cate Campbell said.
“We have been on the team together for so long – I have seen all her ups and downs.”
She said Larkin’s success summed up what sport was all about.
“It proves it is about the size of the heart, not the size of the person,” Campbell said.
“Everyone feels inspired when they see a great performance.”
But Larkin tried to forget about his breakthrough gold before emerging fastest (one minute, 55.88 seconds) ahead of Thursday night’s 200m backstroke semis.
Larkin admitted he had to remain focused after regretting a 200m heats cruise at the 2013 world titles and failing to qualify for the final.
“I knew I had to be on the ball, I didn’t want to miss that semi-final,” Larkin said.
“I had to forget about that gold and concentrate on the process again.”
Meanwhile, Bronte Campbell was trying to play down her growing hype in Kazan.
She inspired Australia’s 4x100m freestyle relay gold with the second fastest split in history (51.77).
“To be honest I haven’t really been thinking about the relay that much at all,” she said.
“I just really want to get into that (100m) final because I missed it two years ago (at last worlds) – I am just happy to be in the mix.”
HOW THE AUSSIES FARED IN DAY FIVE HEATS AT THE WORLD SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Women’s 100m freestyle
– Cate Campbell (53.22 seconds) equal fastest ahead of day five’s semi-finals
– Bronte Campbell (53.50) third fastest for semi-finals
Men’s 200m backstroke
– Mitch Larkin (one minute, 55.88 seconds) fastest for day five’s semi-finals
– Josh Beaver (1:57.62) eighth fastest for semi-finals
Women’s 200m breaststroke
– Taylor McKeown (2:24.02) ninth fastest ahead of day five’s semi-finals
– Tess Wallace (2:24.88) 12th fastest for semi-finals
Women’s 4x200m freestyle relay
– Australia (7:52.66) third fastest for day five’s final