(Reuters) - Not all world champions could count on sympathy from a rival after suffering a shoulder injury but it is not only sororal love that has Cate Campbell consoling sister Bronte heading into Australia’s Olympic swimming trials.
Bronte won both the 50 and 100 meters freestyle sprints at the world championships in Kazan last year, taking the longer title off Cate as the elder of the Australian siblings recovered from shoulder surgery.
The roles are reversed heading into the April 7-14 Australian championships in Adelaide, with Cate fighting fit and Bronte suffering from a mystery shoulder problem.
“I am as close to 100 percent shape as I have been in years,” Cate told reporters in Adelaide.
“I am on top of injuries. Bront and I appear to have done a switch, I promise I don’t have a doll under my bed and I‘m not stabbing pins in it,” the 23-year-old added with a laugh.
“But I really feel for her. She is going through a rough time. I am there to console her. It is a horrible thing to be injured ... but she is holding up like a trouper. I expect nothing but the best from her.”
Bronte said she would not be having scans on the injury until after the championships, which double as the Olympic selection trials, but was confident she could battle through to claim a place at her second Games.
“Preparation hasn’t been ideal but then again no preparation has been, and no sportsperson is going to be free of injuries,” Bronte said.
”It’s not something that really worries me, I don’t think I’ve ever had a prep where some small thing hasn’t gone wrong.
“Cate just smiles and says ‘I know exactly what you are going through’ because she went through shoulder surgery and her neck problem,” she added.
“She has had six or so cortisone injections into her neck - she has definitely been through it all.”
After winning bronze in the 50 freestyle as a 15-year-old at the Beijing Olympics, Cate has developed into a stronger 100 sprinter but she still holds the third best time of the year in the world (24.32 seconds) in the one-length event.
Bronte is just behind her in the rankings (24.37), as she is in the 100 this year, her 53.30 seconds third in the world behind Cate’s 52.85 and the 52.78 swam by Swede Sarah Sjostrom in Stockholm last week.
Given the margin for catastrophic error in the sprints, though, Cate said she would not be thinking about making a statement to her rivals with her times in Adelaide.
“I‘m here to make it onto the Olympic team and everything else is irrelevant,” she added.
“It’s absolutely cut-throat, trials is the most stressful competition. At Olympics you have nothing to lose, at the Olympic trials you have everything to lose, you have the next four years of your life to lose.”
Writing by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford