TOKYO: After two years, Cate Campbell can finally forget about the heartbreak of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
The Australian swimmer bombed in Rio, failing to win an individual gold medal. She collapsed in the 100m freestyle final when she was the favorite to win and finished a distant sixth.
That prompted her to take a reflective year off from competitive swimming. It seems to have paid off on Friday at the Pan Pacific Championships, the biggest meet of the year for swimmers from the Pacific Rim region and a dress rehearsal for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Campbell won the 100 in 52.03 seconds, the second fastest time ever in the event. She also beat Rio gold medalist Simone Manuel of the United States, who finished second in 52.66.
Her compatriot Kyle Chalmers followed that up with victory in the men’s race to give Australia an emphatic 100m freestyle double gold.
Chalmers, fresh off the back of four golds at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, continued his good form to win in a time of 48.00, 22 seconds ahead of compatriot Jack Cartwright and American Caeleb Dressel who tied for silver.
Canada’s Kylie Masse added a Pan Pacific gold to her world and Commonwealth titles by winning the women’s 100m backstroke with a strong finish. Masse touched first in 58.61 with Australian Emily Seebohm taking silver in 58.72. American Kathleen Baker, the world record holder, took bronze in 58.83.
Elsewhere, Japan’s Daiya Seto delighted the home crowd two years before the Tokyo Olympics by capturing gold in the men’s 200m butterfly, clocking 1:54.34.
The major power in world swimming, the United States, did get victories from Hali Flickinger in the 200m butterfly and Ryan Murphy in the 100m backstroke.
Australia pipped the United States to gold in the women’s 4x200m free, clocking a championship best of 7:44.12. But the Americans hit back to win the men’s 4x200m free in 7:04.36 after a superb anchor leg from Townley Haas.
Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2018