Cate Campbell Quietly Throws Down Best Time In 200 Freestyle At NSW

While throwing down monster heat in the women’s 50m and 100m freestyle races at the 2017 NSW State Open Championships last weekend, world record holder Cate Campbell of Australia quietly threw down a best time in one of her off-events, the 200m freestyle. Having already clocked a 50m scorcher of 24.47 and a blistering 100m outing of 53.15 at the meet, Campbell tried the 200m on for size and wound up finishing with a silver medal behind Sweden’s Michelle Coleman, stopping the clock in 1:58.21.

Campbell, who says she’ll continue competing at the Mare Nostrum and World Cup Series this year, but not the 2017 World Championships in Budapest, has only swum the 200m free event a handful of times. Entering the meet, the Commercial Swimming Club athlete had yet to crack the 2-minute threshold.

‘C1’s time of 1:58.21 now ranks as the 9th fastest in the world this season, not too shabby for the typical 50/100 speedster. Additionally, the 24-year-old has only been back in the water part-time, as she has been recovering from a hernia, one with which she swam while securing a world record as a member of the Aussie 4x100m freestyle relay in Rio. For perspective, Campbell’s time from last weekend would have finished with a silver at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Indianapolis, beating all Americans in the process, although key swimmers such as Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel weren’t competing.

2016-2017 LCM WOMEN 200 FREE

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Locally, C1’s 200m freestyle mark ranks as the 2nd fastest Australian this season, only behind Western Australia’s Brianna Throssell, who clinched a time just .11 quicker at last December’s Queensland Championships.

Since Rio, 4x200m freestyle relay silver medalist Bronte Barratt has announced her retirement, while anchor Tamsin Cook revealed she will be taking a brief hiatus from the sport, opting out of the World Championships. Rio prelims relay member Jessica Ashwood and finals lead-off swimmer Leah Neale are still very much competing, but C1’s outing does make one’s mind wonder as to the possibilities for that event for the 3-time Olympian both on an individual and relay level. However, with her opting out of Budapest, that takes at least a short-term relay prospect off the table.

Individually, the Australian men have both Cameron McEvoy and Kyle Chalmers going after the 50/100/200 freestyle treble at Australian competitions, and Emma McKeon often attempts the trio on the women’s side. With this 1:58-low, it’s not extreme thinking to wonder if C1 would ever attempt the trifecta regularly down the road.

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Did Bronte Campbell do it too? It’ll be interesting if both Campbell try the triple sprint freestyle.


Only Cate did the 200m, but it also meant they had two Commercial swimmers finish in the top three since Shayna also swam it.


No real record of any 200FR outings of any note from C2; her one performance of note outside her stock 50/100FR has been a 28.2-28.3 50Back at the LCM Singapore World Cup post 2015 Worlds.


When did Simone Manuel become key swimmer at 200 free LCM? If beating Cate Campbell at 200 qualifies her as such then, sure, of course she is.

E Gamble

She was merely stating a fact. Simone and Katie weren’t there. They both have faster 200 free times than C1. Like it or not….you compare Olymipc medalist with other Olympic medalist. And look for Simone to make that 200 free relay for worlds because she has the greatest LCM training partner in the world….her friend and teammate Katie Ledecky. Everyone knows that our women’s 800 free relay is almost a guaranteed gold.


From your mouth to God’s ears. 🙂


Campbell sisters might be trying to get on their 800 relay as well…

bobo gigi

Simone is a great 200 free swimmer in SCY. Because in SCY it’s more a sprint event. The sprinters can survive thanks to the many turns. It’s a total different event in LCM and a sprinter generally dies in the last 50. Having said that, I think Simone is able to swim 1.56 high/1.57 low with a smart race strategy and maybe she wants to be in the US relay team. However it could cost her some energy for her 100 free later in the week at worlds. By the way E Gamble, I don’t recognize myself in “everyone knows that our women’s 800 free relay is almost a guaranteed gold.” 🙂 Unless Missy is back to her best, and… Read more »

bobo gigi

Canada: Oleksiak/Smith/Ruck/Sanchez is a crazy fast young relay in the making and ready to last. Savard and Harvey can be used too. USA: Except KL and Leah Smith there are many questions and unlike Canada, there’s a lack of young talents. No more Maya DiRado. Allison Schmitt? She has not raced since Rio. Will she swim this year? Missy Franklin? The big question. Good to see Katie McLaughlin back. Cierra Runge and Melanie Margalis are strong candidates too. Who can bring some fresh blood? Mallory Comerford? I think her best event in long course is the 100 free but she can still split around 1.57. Maybe the best news for that relay is Isabel Ivey. Already 1.43 in yards and… Read more »


Same as with Cate Campbell who gives Australian team more than a second advantage at 4×100 free relay, Katie Ledecky gives American team at 4×200 the “unfair” advantage. In Rio American easily won the gold medal having 3×1:56 plus KL. I think that American will find three 1:56 swimmers this year as well. If not then they will go with plan “B”. That is Katie splits under 1:53.
I wish I could challenge your “Canadian” bet, but I’m not sure about the way to collect.

bobo gigi

I agree about the KL advantage. But will it be enough?
What amazes me is the youth of the Canadians freestyle relays.
Oleksiak is 16. 1.54.94 anchor leg in Rio
Sanchez is 15. Already in 1.58
Ruck is 16. 1.52.50 in SCM last December. 1.56.16 relay split in Rio.
Smith is 16. 1.52.99 in SCM last December.
Harvey is very young too.
It’s hard to think they will not improve in the next few years.


So USA has KL, smith, Katie M(swam this relay at 2015 worlds), Margalis, comerford, Simone and a bunch of youngsters that can step up in the next 2-3 years. The big advantage is that we can swim our 3-6th best swimmers in prelims and choose the fastest two…..the rest of the world can’t do this and they have a lot less margin for error. I don’t see how we don’t have have a 153, a couple 156s and and a 157 in finals.

bobo gigi

You’re right about the depth. But Canada has 6 girls in 1.58 or better so they can rest Oleksiak and Ruck for example in prelims.


This 200FR from C1 is, indeed, interesting given that her past history with this event is to either use it as a leisurely swim-down or for the purposes of a 100FR time-trial for the first 100. Does it indicate a possible future interest in the 4×200 ? Plausible, given the current turn-over in this AUS relay and a further 0.5 drop raises the potential of a sub 1.57 flying start split. However, I feel caution needs also to be taken into account. Whilst this may be a positive sign of increased stamina; her health history is one of being perennially physically fragile. Would anyone care to put forward some odds on her physically “lasting” through to Tokyo ? Will she… Read more »

About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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