On Path To the 2024 Paris Games, Daunting Gauntlet Awaits Aussie Legend Cate Campbell

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On Path To the 2024 Paris Games, Daunting Gauntlet Awaits Aussie Legend Cate Campbell

In easy fashion, Australian sprint legend Cate Campbell returned to the pool last week. The eight-time Olympic medalist and longtime lynchpin of Aussie relays is chasing a bid to a fifth Olympic Games, a feat never achieved by a swimmer from her nation. But for Campbell to land an invitation to the 2024 Games in Paris, particularly in individual action, she’ll have to navigate a daunting gauntlet of homemade speed.

At her last major international competition, the delayed 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Campbell was a force for the Aussies. In addition to anchoring Australia to titles in a pair of relays, including a third straight crown in the 400-meter freestyle relay, Campbell secured a bronze medal in the 100 freestyle. Following her exploits in the Japanese capital, Campbell took a hiatus from competition.

Campbell’s career can be celebrated in two manners. On one hand, she’s an all-time great sprinter, and she is undoubtedly one of the best relay performers in history. Meanwhile, Campbell has served the sport outside of the pool, as an athlete representative and leading voice for mental health. She has also defended athletes against social-media assaults that can be damning and damaging to the psyche.

Considering what Campbell has done in, and for, the sport, watching her race at a fifth Olympics would be more than appropriate. And if she earns the opportunity, it will mean she is still in prime form and battled with the likes of an elite crew of sprinters. After all, representing Australia at the highest level is only achieved via peak performance.

As Campbell ventures down the road toward Paris, she’ll find herself dueling with a longtime Dolphin compatriot in Emma McKeon and a rising star in the sport in Mollie O’Callaghan. More, Shayna Jack has proven herself as an international force, with Meg Harris and Madison Wilson also boasting stellar credentials.

In the journalism world, we’re not supposed to show favoritism. But Campbell is one of those women who has earned nothing but respect during her career, and as she chases another Olympiad, she’s certainly someone we’ll want to see excel.

A look at Australia’s top sprint times from 2022:

50 Freestyle
Emma McKeon (23.99)
Shayna Jack (24.14)
Meg Harris (24.32)
Mollie O’Callaghan (24.52)
Madison Wilson (24.62)

100 Freestyle
Mollie O’Callaghan (52.49)
Shayna Jack (52.60)
Emma McKeon (52.94)
Madison Wilson (52.99)
Meg Harris (53.09)

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