The world’s current fastest female freestyler, Australia’s Cate Campbell, is obviously a significant star to watch at the 2015 FINA World Championships later this month in Kazan. 23- year-old Campbell has a chance to become the first woman to successfully defend the women’s 100m freestyle title since East German swimmer Kornelia Ender accomplished the feat in 1973 and 1975.
In fact, only three Australian women have completed the demanding task of repeating any individual world title, with Libby Trickett (now Lenton) earning back-to-back 50m freestyle wins in 2005 and 2007, Leisel Jones nabbing gold in the 100m and 200m breaststrokes in those same years, and Jessicah Schipper earning the 200m butterfly title in 2007 and 2009.
However, when considering her legacy, Campbell does not cling to the words, ‘repeat world champion’ as her primary objective headed into Kazan. On her preparation for Worlds, she tells The Courier Mail, “I don’t think of it as defending champ, it’s almost like 2013 didn’t happen in my mind. I still want to be the best in the world. I wanted to be that in 2012 as well and that didn’t happen.’’ Campbell ended 2012 ranked 7th in the world in the 50m freestyle event and 11th in the world in the 100m freestyle. In London at the 2012 Olympic Games, Campbell won team gold as a member of the Australian 4×100 freestyle relay, but failed to medal in an individual event.
Ever increasing her speed in the pool since then, Campbell now sits atop the 50m freestyle global throne with her time of 24.03 and is also tied for the number one time in the world in the 100m freestyle with her mark of 52.69. She is SwimSwam’s pick to capture the gold medal in both events at this year’s World Championships and is stating her case as a favorite for the same events in Rio.
The horizon extends even beyond Rio for Campbell, however. For one, Queensland, Australia, the state in which Campbell currently resides, is slated to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Campbell also tells The Courier Mail that, “at the moment I am thinking (of swimming) to about 2020. That will take me to 28, that’s four Olympics, it’s rounded off nicely then and I will get on with the rest of my life and leave this part behind me.”