Blueseventy Swim of the Week: The Return Of Cate Campbell


Disclaimer: BlueSeventy Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The BlueSeventy Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.

After taking the year 2017 off of world-level competition, Australian sprinter Cate Campbell is looking to return to the limelight.

The 2016 world record-breaker blasted the world’s fastest time this season, going 52.37 at the NSW State Open over the weekend. That time leads the world ranks by more than half a second at present (see below) and is historically fast, even by Campbell’s standards.

2017-2018 LCM WOMEN 100 FREE

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That’s easily the fastest January 100 free swim we’ve ever seen. While that can sound like an oddly cherry-picked stat, the significance is that most swimmers take most of the long course season to slowly drop their time towards a personal best. Campbell, in stark contrast, is swimming faster than anyone (herself included) ever has in the very early months of 2018.

Even in her world record 2016 season, the fastest Campbell went prior to breaking the record was 52.38, done at the Australian Championships in April. Campbell has always been a good in-season swimmer, but if she’s already this far ahead of where she’s been in previous seasons, we could be in store for a stellar summer battle for world rank supremacy between Campbell and current world record-holder Sarah Sjostrom.



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CC is swimming well and her confidence is coming back. She’ll be competing in her home country, in front of her fans. Everything is lining up for her to swim some great times.

Sarah Sjostrom’s WR splits for the 100 free are 24.83 at the 50 and 26.88 for the final 50. When Cate swam her 52.06 WR, her splits were 24.89 and 27.17.

So if Cate can swim a strong second 50, she’s got a shot at getting her 100 LCM free WR back.


26.88 on the way home is extremely fast and I have serious doubts that Cate Campbell can do something similar to this. The 27 flat is the best what we can probably expect from her. If she challenges Sjostrom’s world record then she will improve her first 50. She already tried it once in Rio being in great shape (world record month earlier and 51 split in relay day before) But it ended up in catastrophe.
Damn, all records in women freestyle from 50 to 1500 are almost supernatural and probably wouldn’t get broken soon even by those who set them.


I see your point. If Cate improves her time in the 100, it will be interesting to see if she goes faster in the front half or the back half.

I think Sjostrom is the only one to swim a sub-27 on the back half. Simone Manuel has done a 27.06 back half at the WCs last year when she ran down Sjostrom for the upset.


26.88 back half is INSANE! Sjostrom is an extremely strong woman. Cate has to be very, very smart about pacing if she wants to approach the WR. I think the model is her short course WR record race where her first 50 was very fast but she looked completely relaxed. That’s the key– a 24.7 first 50 that can feel comfortable/easy speed. And no one knows more than Cate her 2nd 50 challenges and she is working on them. 52.37 in January is indeed scary.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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