Australian Championships: Cate Campbell’s sizzling 52.43 In The 100m Freestyle, The Fastest Time of 2021 As Aussie Girls Tear Up The Pool

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IN FLIGHT: Cate Campbell flies like a butterfly, swims like a fish. Photo Courtesy Nina Beilby (Swimming NSW)

Australia’s freestyle sprint queen Cate Campbell has rocketed to the top of the 2021 World Rankings in the 100m freestyle with a sizzling 52.43 in the night two heats of the Australian Open Swimming Championships on the Gold Coast tonight.

CATE CAMPBELL START HEAD ON 2

TAKEOFF: Cate Campbell off the blocks. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

In what shaped up as a “mini world championship” shoot out the Australian girls certainly made a statement to the rest of the world with three outstanding heats and one of the highest standards ever seen at a National Championship.

The 28-year-old Campbell (Knox-Pymble, NSW) laid it on the line swimming her fastest time since the 2019 World Championships when she clocked exactly the same time that saw her finish second to Olympic champion Simone Manuel (USA) who won the title in Gwangju in 52.04.

Campbell looked totally in control with a powerhouse performance and she will headline what will be a cracking 100m freestyle final tomorrow (Friday morning 10am local time) which will be televised live on Amazon Prime.

With COVID-19 hanging over 2020, no one has swum faster since those World Championships but it was Griffith University’s Emma McKeon (52.46) who finished on top of the 2020 World Rankings, ahead of the second fastest, Cate Campbell (52.87) in 2020.

Emma McKeon Olympic rings

FOCUSED: Emma McKeon is he second fastest qualifier into the 100m freestyle final, Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

And it was McKeon, after withdrawing from the 200m final this morning, who will go into tomorrow’s final with the second fastest time after clocking 52.71 tonight – a touch outside er 52.59 she swam to win the NSW Championship last month, when she beat Campbell.

And Madi Wilson (Marion, SA) just keeps on improving her personal bests every time she swims, clocking 53.40, improving her NSW time of 53.47 and her 2020 best of 53.50 and her 2019 best of 53.60.

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SPLASHDOWN: Bronte Campbell claims the 100m gold at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan – Photo Courtesy: R-Sport / MIA Rossiya Segodnya

Fourth fastest home was 2015 World Champion Bronte Campbell (Knox-Pymble, NSW) who returned to the scene of her 2018 Commonwealth Games triumph over sister Cate to post her fastest time since 2019 – stopping the clock at 53.62 – which will be a huge confidence booster for her in the countdown to the Australian Olympic Trials in July in Adelaide.

The personal bests kept coming with 17-year-old Mollie O’Callaghan (St Peters Western) continuing her meteoric rise up the ranks, cranking out a another pb of 53.78, – equally Alicia Coutts as gthe equal 10th fastest time by an Australian – with her training partner and fellow World Junior Championship medallist Meg Harris breaking 54 seconds for the first time, lowering her pb to 53.87.

Ariarne Titmus AUS, 400m Freestyle Final, 18th FINA World Swimming Championships 2019, 21 July 2019, Gwanju South Korea. Pic by Delly Carr/Swimming Australia. Pic credit requested and mandatory for free editorial usage. THANK YOU.

LANES OF GOLD: Ariarne Titmus after her 400m freestyle win in Gwangju. Photo Courtesy  Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

Seventh fastest was this morning’s three-time 200m freestyle winner and 2019 world champion over 400m, Ariarne Titmus (St Peters Western) 54.44, followed by the fourth SPW swimmer out of the Dean Boxall stable, Mia O’Leary (54.84), who will contest the 17-18 years final, USC Spartans Rio Olympian Leah Neale (54.85) and Abbey (Ginninderra) 55.46.

Meanwhile, there was a sensation in the men’s 100m backstroke with defending champion and six time winner Mitch Larkin (St Peters Western) disqualified for moving at the start robbing him of the opportunity to win a 25th National title. He told reporters after the race it was “a head twitch.”