Cate Campbell To Undergo Hernia Surgery Upon Return From Rio

World record-holder Cate Campbell swam through a hernia at the Rio Olympics and will require surgery when she returns to Australia, according to a report from the Sydney Morning Herald.

Per News Corp, Campbell developed the hernia 3 months ago, but was not able to have the surgery before Rio for fear it would disrupt her training and preparation.

The report also says Campbell “is refusing to blame it [the hernia] for her Rio results.” Campbell broke the 100 free world record just a month out of the Olympics (which would also be two months after she developed the hernia, based on the Sydney Morning Herald report), but missed the medals entirely in Rio.

She was 5th in the 50 free and 6th in the 100 in Rio, though she did win gold with the world’s fastest split as part of the 4×100 free relay, which broke the world record.

The Sydney Morning Herald says Campbell will have surgery in October, after taking a post-Olympics holiday. That will be her second such surgery in the past year.

That’s just one health wrinkle involved with Australia’s return from Rio. Backstroker Madison Wilson and freestyler Bronte Barratt are both expected to miss their flights home after being booked into a local hospital. Wilson is suffering from abdominal pains that might be connected to appendicitis and Barratt has contracted pneumonia after a chilly, rainy closing ceremony.

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Well that explains a lot. She may not be using it as an excuse, and that’s to her credit, but hernias are no joke.


Yes, except if she has had the hernia for 3 months as it says she would have already had it when she broke the world record in July.

Regardless, safe and quick recovery Cate!


Agreed hernias are no joke – but she apparently went her 52.0 WR with the same hernia (read the article) — so not sure it explains Rio.


They tend to get worse the longer they go unfixed. My guess anyway.


She still split some fast relay splits in Rio with that hernia.


But not 52.0 quality relay splits.
Anyway, using one race specifically, in the last 25m of the 100 final her body position dropped significantly. Maybe she just died, but I would expect keeping your up back high in the water like she normally does would irritate the hell out of a hernia as it requires engaging those lower core muscles tremendously. Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions, be in any case I still say she’s a badass.


She split 51.97 on the 4×100 free relay final.


generally relay exchanges give you a better differential than .09 from your flat start time


Yes, we all know that. Still, she split 51.97, with the next fastest split belonging to her sister at 52.15 (both faster than Ranomi, Sjostrom, Oleksiak, etc.). And had the fastest split on the very last day of competition in the 4×100 medley relay (52.17). So, something affected her individual race, and only she knows what it was…


Well whatever it was, having a hernia did not help her performance


Clarification. Its not my guess that they get worse the longer they go untreated, thats a medical fact. It is my guess that this affected her performance more than she will publicly admit.

Zika Ziki

The WR swim was done in stress and pressure-free situation. Big difference.


She swam well in prelims and semis.


A hernia shouldn’t really effect competition, but there is a definite mental component knowing the stress you’re putting on your body with a piece of your insides hanging out.


What a champion. I have tremendously more respect for CC after this news.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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