Cate Campbell Breaks Australian Record in 50 free Semis at Trials


Cate Campbell, the elder of Australia’s two sprinting Campbell sisters, has broken the Australian National Record in the 50 long course meter free on the penultimate day of the 2016 Australian Olympic Trials.

Her 23.93 in the semi-finals on Thursday broke her own National, Oceanic, and Commonwealth Records of 23.96 that was done at the 2014 Pan Pac Championships. Campbell’s swim is also the third-fastest in history, and she now becomes the first woman to ever go better than 24 seconds three times – in addition to a perfect 24.00 from 2014. Marleen Veldhuis of the Netherlands is the only other swimmer to go under 24 seconds even twice.

Campbell’s is the fastest time ever done outside of the super-suit era (a standard that she already held in a tie with Britain’s Fran Halsall).

The new all-time Top 10 swims:

  • 1. – Britta Steffen, Germany, 2009 – 23.73
  • 2 – Therese Alshammar, Sweden, 2009 – 23.88
  • 3 – Cate Campbell, Australia, 2016 – 23.93
  • T4 – Fran Halsall, Great Britain, 2014 – 23.96
  • T4 – Marleen Veldhuis, Netherlands, 2009 – 23.96
  • T4 – Cate Campbell, Austalia, 2014 – 23.96
  • 7 – Libby Trickett, Australia, 2008 – 23.97
  • 8 – Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden, 2014 – 23.98
  • T9 – Cate Campbell, Australia, 2009 – 23.99
  • T9 – Marleen Veldhuis, Netherlands, 2009 – 23.99

This swim is also significant for another reason – for the first time in history, each of the top 10 performances in this event are under 24 seconds. From the time when Libby Trickett became the first woman under the barrier in 2008 at these same Australian Olympic Trials, it’s happened 9 other times in 8 years. None of the 10 swims under 24 seconds have been done by Americans, but 4 have been done by Australians.

In Thursday’s last session, Cate Campbell will be followed by her sister Bronte, who was 24.27 in the semi-finals – .15 short of her personal best.


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bobo gigi

Fastest American ever: 41-year-old Dara Torres 24.07
Fastest American girl ever in textile: Simone Manuel 24.47

Aussie Oy

I can never understand your obsession over USA female sprinters, while constantly undermining their performances.
Be Positive and patience, they will get better and improved in time. 🙂


Whilst I find Bobo’s schtick rather tiresome when it descends into this sort of territory; a little context does help.

A good deal of the hype and “boosterism” by some (thankfully not too many here) US fans and even some US swim pundits over the likes of Manuel and some others has bordered on the ludicrous and invites the inevitable counter-response when the hype proves to be “all tip, no iceberg”.

Having said that, this goes for ALL nationalities hence I sometimes try and deflate some Aussies who sometimes get a little over-excited !

London Calling

Didn’t Bobo call Manuel and Weitzeil American greatest sprinters ever?


When you have the Campbell sisters & McKeon in your team in the sprints, I think you are allowed to get a little over excited, similar to the US having Ledecky in their middle to long distances, I fully understand they would be a little over excited.

Fakir 11

Fastest French woman ever: 34-year old Malia Metella: 24.58


Stop hating on American sprinters… They aren’t the best, but I think in Rio they’ll be motivated by the Australians to go even faster. Manuel or Weitzel will be 23 or 52 sooner or later.

Aussie Oy

52 is quite possible.

But 23? It is a lot harder than you think.
Even current double Olympics champion and current double World champion, Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Bronte Campbell, both have never swum a 23.


Whilst an American will undoubtedly swim these times, there is absolutely no certainty as to when that may be and who actually swims them. It could be Weitzel or Manuel or it may be someone who’s currently unknown. At this point, both of them are quite some way off in both events.

I fully agree with Oy below; sub24 in the 50 is one extraordinarily steep barrier to cross. I think a US sub53 will occur before a US sub24.


only Ledecky can go for 52 low by RIO in 100m ….none other else in USA can break the 53 barrier by this short time….in 50m no American swimmer can the barrier 24.25 sec by RIO….


I’ll be very surprised if no American cracks 52 this summer… Weitzel would be my leading contender. 24 is a tougher barrier, but we’ll see. Everyone on US relay will be capable of low 53 or better with rolling starts, which I suspect will put them on the podium, although no one is beating Australia barring a major mishap there.

John j

I’m not worried about the American (female) sprinters. While the gold is pretty much locked by Aussie (4 free relay), American women can get silver or bronze, and other relays they are in contention for gold.

Aussie trials have been fast across the board-doubtful they can repeat at Olympics in every event.


They have a virtual mortgage on the W4X200 and would have to self destruct/break to not do so. W4XMED – far too early to make any call. CHN won in Kazan by being strong enough across all four strokes. AUS appears to have made progress on the two strokes that malfunctioned in Kazan. There seem to be signs of advance in US on breaststroke and fly but we would need to see how US Trials pan out before making any rational call. TBH, whilst there have been a few mild surprises the AUS Trials have essentially played out according to script. Beyond the stellar performers such as McEvoy and Larkin; the quality and depth of the men’s side remains relatively… Read more »


Hey JohnJ, yes Aussie trials very fast. Be afraid, be very afraid.

The Aussies are now a medal contender in every freestyle event & the Backstroke events, we should final in the 400IM, 100 Breast & outside chance of 200 butterfly. We should also do very well in the relays. This is not a weak men’s team, only the US has a greater range.
In the women, we have medal contenders all over the place & expected to final in all, maybe not 400IM & 100 breast (improving in both).

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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