Cate Campbell is back and ready to take on the world.
Cate Campbell is back and ready to take on the world.

Great return gives Campbell new 2020 vision

AT first, alarm bells were ringing for Cate Campbell. After making her long-awaited return to the pool, a sluggish Campbell suddenly thought taking a 2017 sabbatical wasn't such a good idea.

But after bouncing back to dominate the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games swimming trials, a revitalised Campbell is now targeting Tokyo 2020 - and beyond.

At 25, Campbell hopes she can now extend her career for as long as she can after the successful break.

"It's allowed me to see the future, to see at least until 2020," she said.

"I am not going to put a cap on that because I know I can take breaks and time away from the pool to refresh myself physically and mentally which is really important."

Former world champion Campbell surprised even herself with her stunning comeback at the Gold Coast.

Cate Campbell (right) looks on to sister Bronte after winning the Womens 100m Freestyle Final on day 2 of the 2018 Australian Swimming Trials at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre at Southport on the Gold Coast.
Cate Campbell (right) looks on to sister Bronte after winning the Womens 100m Freestyle Final on day 2 of the 2018 Australian Swimming Trials at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre at Southport on the Gold Coast.

She broke the 50m butterfly and 50m freestyle Australian records and took a dominant 100m freestyle gold to announce herself again on the world stage.

However, Campbell admitted the early signs weren't good when she finally returned after her Rio Olympic disappointment.

"I was expecting to need a lot more time to get back into it - to be honest in the first couple of weeks I was a little worried," Campbell said.

"But after a while your body remembers and I have been doing this a long time and I have lots of default fitness to fall back on.

"After the first couple of weeks I really started to find my groove."

Cate Campbell was one of the stars of the trials.
Cate Campbell was one of the stars of the trials.

Campbell believed she had also started exorcising her Rio demons after soaking up the "electric" atmosphere of the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre and performing under pressure at the trials.

She found most comfort in claiming 100m freestyle gold in a blistering 52.37 seconds, setting the scene for an epic Games stoush with reigning co-Olympic champion Penny Oleksiak of Canada.

Campbell's time was almost a second faster than the unbackable favourite's sixth in the Rio 100m final, an effort she described as "the greatest choke in Olympic history".

More importantly her trials winning time was 0.33 of a second faster than the effort that earned Oleksiak and American Simone Manuel a stunning tie for Rio gold.

"Behind the blocks I was kind of shaking," Campbell said.

"It is a big weight off my shoulders knowing I can perform when I am supposed to and under pressure and that I can improve from heats to finals.

"Keeping your head under pressure in an atmosphere, that can be challenging.

"But I feel I am in a much better place to cope with all that."


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