Cate Campbell Scorches, Winnington Upsets Horton & Paltrinieri At NSW


Chandler’s Cate Campbell is used to being the center of swimming attention with the high-caliber performances the Olympic medalist typically throws down at both in-season and championship meets. Tonight in Sydney was no different, as the 25-year-old wowed spectators with 2 impressive swims to kick-off the 3-day New South Wales (NSW) State Open Championships.

First off, C1 clocked a personal best 50m butterfly in the morning heats, touching the wall in a swift 26.16. She turned up the heat in the final race tonight at SOPAC, ultimately clocking a mark of 25.68 to register a new Australian textile record. Only Marieke Guehrer’s time of 25.48 from back in 2009 has been faster. Of the sprint race, C1 said she will indeed be adding the event to her repertoire for next month’s Commonwealth Games Trials taking place in the Gold Coast, putting the likes of Canada’s Penny Oleksiak on notice.

Using the 50m fly as a warm-up, C1 scored the win in the women’s 100m freestyle later in the session, registering a winning time of 52.37. That’s her quickest time of the season, easily overtaking the 52.69 she checked in with at last month’s Queensland Championships. Her outing this evening now sits as the NSW All Comers Record, yet another accolade added to the champion’s resume.

Post-race, C1 said, “It was nice fast racing, doing the best with what you have and it’s exactly what I did tonight and I’m really pleased with both those swims,” said Campbell, who is not getting carried away. But now it’s time to get back into training after the 50m tomorrow and potentially the 200m on Sunday, which I haven’t been able to wrangle my way out of.”

Campbell’s usual partner-in-aquatic-crime, sister Bronte Campbell also made an appearance tonight, coming in 2nd in that 100m freestyle race in 53.81. C2 reiterated this week that she is doing her best to hold her battled and bruised body together through Gold Coast 2018 before taking a break to address nagging hip and shoulder injuries.

Finishing 3rd in the race behind the sizzling sisters was Olympic medalist Emma McKeon, who charged to the wall in the other sub-54 second time of the race, 53.98. McKeon was also in that women’s 50m butterfly scorcher, finishing with the silver alongside Korea’s An Seyheon. Both women touched in 26.72, almost a second behind Campbell.

Although another duel between training partners Mack Horton of Australia and Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy was billed as a top race to watch at NSWs, it was 17-year-old Elijah Winnington who had other designs on stealing the spotlight in the men’s 400m freestyle. The Bond swimmer crashed the training partner party, finishing in 3:49.96 for a new personal best to take gold ahead of Horton and Paltrinieri who finished with the silver and bronze in respective marks of 3:50.93 and 3:51.04.

Teen talent Winnington is making a name for himself as of late, having clinched the men’s 200m freestyle title at last month’s Queensland Championships and finishing 2nd there to Horton in the 400m. Of his performance tonight, the Bond athlete stated, “I thought I had a lot of confidence after Queensland State but this is another good boost of confidence here. I definitely have another gear and I have a goal time of around 3:45 or 3.46 for the Trials which I think will get top three.”

The men’s 100m freestyle was another highlight on the star-stacked evening, with Cameron McEvoy and James Magnussen each trying to generate speed amid heavy pre-Trials training. McEvoy edged out the former world champion by just over a tenth, taking the NSW title in 48.99 to Maggie’s silver medal garnering 49.11. Maggie already holds a time of 48.90 from his Queensland title-winning performance last month, so the 26-year-old is situated as the fastest Aussie male headed into next month’s Trials.

However, both he and McEvoy will need to hold their own against 2 teenagers, 19-year-olds Kyle Chalmers and Jack Cartwright, both of whom have the capability of taking the Aussie title heading into the Gold Coast.

Additional Winners on Day 1:

  • Japan’s Yuya Sakamoto helped shine a light once again on the fact that the Aussies are in need of an internationally competitive 200m butterflyer. Sakamoto won in 1:58.05, while Brodie Cook, the highest placing Ausssie tonight, took silver in 2:01.06.
  • 22-year-old Jessica Hansen was tonight’s 100m breaststroke winner in 1:07.80, with Olympic finalist Taylor McKeown right behind in 1:07.80. Both women were the only competitors under 1:09 in the field.
  • Czech athlete Barbo Zavadosa won the women’s 400m IM in 4:42.58, with the highest placed Aussie represented by Keryn McMaster. McMaster clocked 4:46.77 for bronze in the race.
  • Spartan standout and World Championships finalist Kaylee McKeown took down Emily Seebohm last week at the Vic Open and she clinched her 3rd state title in the event tonight the 16-year-old earned a time of 2:08.57 to easily beat the competition.
  • The men’s 50m backstroke sprint saw Ben Treffers win in 25.45.
  • Jess Ashwood took the women’s 800m freestyle in a very pedestrian time of 8:28.73. She’ll need to muster more than that to get close to the new Aussie golden girl, Ariarne Titmus, the teen who has been breaking Australian mid-distance records since her standout Australian Championships last April.
  • In multi-class action, Simone Barlaam was tonight’s men’s 50m freestyle winner, while Emily Beecroft took the same race for the women. In the 200m IM, Matthew Levy came out on top for the men, while Madelein Scott took the mutli-class title for the women.


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Cate Campbell seems to swim her best in her home country. She’s going to challenge the sprint freestyle WRs at the Comm Games.

The WR in the 100 free is 51.71. That looks within CC’s reach.


AUS Trials will most likely tell us far more. Whilst I see your scenario as being a plausible one; I most certainly would not be engraving her name on the W100fr gold yet. Her capacity to swim the spectacular time remains undoubted and if anyone is likely to challenge SS’s WR, she heads the list of most likely suspects. Its her capacity to deliver under pressure that remains the X factor after Rio. What happened at last year’s Nats ?? She was patently the quickest qualifier then replicated her Rio swim in the final to finish 3rd. Whilst its unlikely that C2 will again break 53sec flat start unless she addresses her injury issues and McKeon will have a busy… Read more »


Yes but last year she was not going to worlds anyway maybe she wasnt motivated in the final, who knows?


I would happily have bought that argument except for the fact that she “folded” in exactly the same manner. For the 50, yes I am willing to buy it a lot easier.

Granted that at AUS Trials this year, she is unlikely to have anyone pushing her in either event but there’s no avoiding the fact that she’s going to need to answer the question over her ongoing capacity to cope with peak pressure in her individual events at both CG & PP. Like you, I hope that answer is in the affirmative but its no sure bet


Well she did not fold in Glasgow, so maybe we should not define her by that one blemish on her career even though it was the Olympics, you have to move on as Cate has! Am interested to see how Shayna goes at trials, she was outstanding for the Aussies at worlds last year, with four relay medals, could surprise if C2 and McKeon are a bit off!


Until/unless she can conclusively bury those ghosts from Rio then these unpleasant questions will continue to be relevant. Talking about “moving on” is just that ….. talk; unless it is actually backed up by clear substantive evidence.

Jack is a near certainty for one of the 3 spots for the 50fr given AUS only currently possesses 3 substantive sub25 sec swimmers (C1/C2/Jack). As for an individual 100 swim; not out of the question but would most likely need a PB to do so. Last AUS season she was swimming PBs in season; her form so far this season has been below that so she will need to lift significantly at Trials.


Going by how Madi Wilson swam in her heat (she was in Bronte’s heat) she may be a slim outsider for that final spot if the others don’t compete well on the night of the trials. She couldn’t replicate it in the final last night but she went close to her PB in the morning. Pretty sure Shayna has been sick if I remember correctly from around the SC trials etc.


Concur – She has been a World Champion, PanPac champion, and swam some pretty big pressure relay legs. The Olympics was unfortunate, and it certainly raises questions that still need answering, but she has time to do so.

It’s not often Brits & Aussies support each other, but personally I hope she goes to Commies & Panpacs and streaks ’em all – Because I still think she is the most natural sprint freestylers, male or female, of her generation. Beautiful to watch.


Cate Campbell is a swimming wonder, no doubt about that.
I still remind when I watched (in streaming, at that time simply and worldwide available on Usa Swimming’s site) her swimming at Santa Clara GP, only 15 year-old, one of the most exciting 100 free I’ve ever seen.
She is a great natural talent, hampered for too much time by physical injuries, and then by doubts, uncertainties,
Too talented and strong to worry about her incredibly slow RT at the start..


Not sure there is much she can do about the RT either way. She has worked really hard on her underwanter once she hits the water off the start to try to mitigate what she loses off the blocks. Getting those long legs going quickly must be such a pain.


With C2 not competing at Pan Pacs it likely means if the Aussies are going to take down their WR in the relay it appears it will have to be on the Gold Coast. I think there’s a good opportunity with the Campbell sisters, McKeon, and Jack. C2 has had some credible relay performances when not at 100% in the past.


We’ll know if Cate Campbell’s meltdown in Rio was a one-off or something deeper when she faces serious competition at the Pan Pacs in August. At the Commonwealths she will only have to deal with the Canadians and they might not be prioritising that event but at the Pan Pacs she will face the Canadians again plus the top Americans and the rising Ikee. As for the relay, it’s still looking pretty strong. It wouldn’t surprise me if the top six here finished in exactly the same order at the Australian trials. The most vulnerable to losing her spot in the relay looks to be Brittany Elmslie.


“Only the Canadians” made me laugh, as if they show up they’ll provide as strong a competition as she’ll face at Panpacs lol… Not the depth, but certainly equal talent at the business end


Manuel won’t be in Queensland. So I’d say it’s more than just added overall depth. If there’s any swimmer that knows about the “business end” it’s Simone.


The Canadians may not be sending their very strongest team to CG due to the unavailability of those swimming NCAA but in this event at least; the peak Canadians available (Oleksiak & Ruck) are both very capable of delivering a defeat to C1 should she falter. Indeed a W100fr podium of 1 Canadians + C1 looks the most likely outcome; the main question being the finishing order. The strongest AUS W4X100 would be C1, C2, McKeon, Jack. Elmslie has been significantly off pace post Rio and it would not surprise if she pulls the plug post CG. The only other sub54 likely to be in the frame is Wilson at 53.9 which will most probably see her co-opted for relay… Read more »


McKeon may treat this event (individually) as small beer but to me it makes her more dangerous and a real podium contender. I wouldn’t assume that she’s done dropping her PB or that she’s maxed out her potential in this.

About Retta Race

Retta 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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