Rio redemption beckons for Australian swimmers

Thu Apr 14, 2016 9:47am EDT
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Four years after flopping in London, Australia's swimmers took a confident step towards redemption at the Rio Olympics with a string of impressive performances at national trials in Adelaide.

The week-long meeting ended on Thursday with sprint queen Cate Campbell setting the South Australia Aquatic and Leisure Centre alight with the second fastest 50 meters freestyle of all time.

Her time of 23.84 seconds was 0.11 seconds shy of Britta Steffen's 2009 world record which was set in a synthetic swim-suit that has since been banned.

It capped an outstanding week for the statuesque 23-year-old Campbell who also set the year's fastest time of 52.38 seconds in the 100 freestyle, edging her sister and world champion Bronte who was a gallant runner-up despite carrying a shoulder injury.

The Campbell sisters, who have fought a thrilling duel in the blue riband event in recent years, are set to clash in the 50 and 100 freestyle in Rio in August while teaming up in a 4x100 relay team with strong claims for gold.

"It's great to be feeling like I'm back in full form and it's great to see Bronte swimming so well despite her rocky preparation," said Cate.

"I feel like I've been really close to world records for a really long time now."

The women's 4x100 freestyle relay was Australia's sole title in the London pool where the once-mighty swimming nation registered its lowest Olympic medal haul in 20 years.   Continued...

Australia's Cate Campbell starts in the women's 100m freestyle semi-final at the Aquatics World Championships in Kazan, Russia, August 6, 2015.  REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke