Last year was an incredible year for Australian Cate Campbell as she accomplished the feat of becoming a World Champion, winning the women’s 100 freestyle in Barcelona.
Campbell experienced great success early in her career. As a 16 year old she won a bronze in the women’s 50 freestyle and women’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay at the Olympics in 2008. Since that time she has had to go through many challenges and heart breaking moments to accomplish what she did in 2013.
In 2010 Campbell began to suffer from post viral fatigue syndrome, which curtailed 18 months of training, until she found alleviation of her symptoms working with a Chinese herbalist. She was able to resume training in the fall of 2011 and heading into the Olympics looked to have a legitimate shot at the podium, until illness struck again.
Campbell helped the Australian women’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay capture Olympic gold on the first day of competition at the 2012 Olympics, but then suffered from a bout of pancreatitis that forced her to scratch from the 100 freestyle and greatly hampered her performance in the 50 freestyle.
Then the calendar changed to 2013, a year where Campbell had a clean bill of health, a year where she went unbeaten in the 100 freestyle including the World Championships, “I was blown away by last year. I didn’t think that was possible ever, let alone so soon after the setbacks I encountered,” Campbell told AAP.
She now plans on showing the world that now she has reached the top that she plans on staying there, “This year I want to build on it, not better it, but to equal it.”
“I want to prove that it wasn’t a fluke.”
Even though she is determined to prove that she will be a legitimate contender year in and year out she is still reluctant to set too many specific goals, something that is understandable after everything the 21 year old has been through , “I find goals can be limiting and disappointing,” Campbell said.
“And look at the unpredictability of the sport and my past.”
“Two years ago I wasn’t even on the national team.”
“It all depends on staying fit and healthy.”
She also knows that for her to be successful she needs to enjoy swimming and let the results come without putting too much pressure on herself, “Over the past year, relaxing and enjoying my sport has been the key change that has allowed me to perform at my best,” Campbell said.
“In the past, I was always putting pressure on myself.
“I was good as a youngster and everyone was expecting big things from me and I kind of lost sight of why I was swimming.
“Now I know. I love this sport.”
Her coach Simon Cusack, who won the Australian Institute of Sports’ Coach of the Year honours, says that Campbell is incredibly resilient, “She epitomizes the Aussie battler. No one can keep her down,” Cusack told the AAP.
“How fast will she go in her career? I don’t know.
“But there is still improvements to be made.”
Cusack will be a busy man at the 2014 Australian National Championships which begin on April 1st in Brisbane. He will not only be coaching Campbell, but her Commercial Swimming Club teammates which include World Champion Christian Sprenger, Tommaso D’Orsogna and Campbell’s younger sister Bronte, who will all be looking to earn spots on the Australian national team