There were several impressive performances by swimmers from this area of the world with several earning medals and placings which they were chasing one year earlier in London. There was one woman that managed to outshine everyone else in this category and that was Cate Campbell, who is our 2013 Swammy Award winner for Oceanic Swimmer of the Year.
The story of Campbell’s Olympic experience in London is well known as the she went in with high expectations only to have her individual performances compromised because of illness. Knowing that she would have to wait another four years for the opportunity to realize her Olympic dreams Campbell wasted no time starting that journey in the right direction.
“When I look back it has just been a year where all my ducks have lined up, at the right time, at the right places,” Campbell told the Herald Sun earlier this month
“For so many years now I have put in foundations for really great swims, but I have never seen that come to fruition due to injury or illness or things that have been well outside of my control.”
“It definitely feels like the dawning of a new era.”
Campbell won the 100 freestyle at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona posting a time of 52.34, but was not able to eclipse the 52.33 she put up in the lead off position of the 4 x 100 freestyle relay earlier in the competition setting a new Commonwealth, Australian and Oceanian record. She also collected three silver medals in Barcelona in the 50 freestyle and the 4 x 100 freestyle and medley relays.
During the year she put up eight of the top 10 performances in the long course 100 freestyle, ending the year with her relay lead off time at the world championships as the top ranked time in the world.
At the World Cup in Tokyo Campbell also set a new Australian and Oceanian record in the short course 50 freestyle posting a time of 23.47.
Outside of the pool Campbell received recognition for her achievements being nominated for the the Don Award which is given to the Australian athlete who, by their achievements and example is considered to have had the capacity to most inspire the nation. She was also elected to the Australian Olympic Committee’s Athlete’s Commission because of both her success and demonstrated leadership abilities.
Lauren Boyle became the first New Zealander in 19 years to make her way onto the medal podium at the long course world championships. Danyon Loader was the last Kiwi to accomplish that feat in 1994 when he collected three medals, an accomplishment that Boyle matched collecting bronze in the 400, 800 and 1500 freestyle events in Barcelona.
With her times in the 800 (8:18.58) and 1500 freestyle (15:44.71) in Barcelona Boyle set new Oceanian and New Zealand records. She also set a Commonwealth record in the short course 800 freestyle posting an 8:01.22 at the World Cup in Eindhoven as well as an Oceanian and New Zealand record in the 400 freestyle (3:55.16) at the same competition.
Australian Alicia Coutts took home five silver medals from Barcelona behind some stiff competition – second to the red-hot Katinka Hosszu in the 200 IM, second to three very tough American relays (and their flying relay anchors) and second to Sarah Sjostrom in the 100 fly. Coutts improved as the year continued, too, getting her revenge on Sjostrom by beating her out for gold at the Tokyo World Cup event in November and setting Australian records in the 100 IM, 200 IM and 100 fly in Tokyo.
Emma McKeon was a part of two Australian record-setting events, going 1:52.40 to set a new short course 200 free record at the Singapore World Cup and joining Campbell and Coutts to break the long course 4×100 free relay record at Worlds in Barcelona.