Cate Campbell has taken a giant step towards the elusive 50m freestyle world record, equalling the fastest non-supersuit time as she raced to gold on the final night of the Pan Pacs Championships on the Gold Coast.
Campbell won in a time of 23.96 seconds, the same mark set by England’s Commonwealth champion Fran Halsall when she just edged out Campbell in Glasgow. It was the first time Campbell had gone sub 24 seconds and rounds out the Pan Pacs sprint double.
The Brisbane world champion said she had felt fatigued after Glasgow but looked anything but over the past four days at the Southport aquatic complex. She wasn’t troubled in either sprint race, beating sister Bronte to silver on both occasions.
Campbell said she couldn’t fault the swim as the weather finally cleared on the Gold Coast, with fans and athletes greeted with clear skies after days of wind and rain.
“Its been a while since I put together a good 50 and that was it. I think it was the first time this week I’ve been 100 per cent happy with a swim which doesn’t often happen for me,” Campbell said.
“It’s important right from the get go, you only have one shot when it comes to a 50 and you can’t make any mistakes and I think the mistakes I made were very slim so I can’t be happier with that race.
“There will definitely be things to work on but I have left with a genuine smile on my face.”
The world record mark belongs to Germany’s Britta Steffen, who set her 23.73 at the infamous 2009 world championships in Rome, where the polyurethane suits – now outlawed by FINA – saw a staggering 43 world records fall.
Campbell wasn’t done there as she anchored Australia’s 4 x 100m medley relay, which took gold over the USA in the penultimate event on the program.
After a strong lead-off from backstroker Emily Seebohm, Lorna Tonks kept in touch with star USA breaststroker Jessica Hardy before Alicia Coutts unleashed a powerhouse to set up an unassailable lead for Campbell.
The Australian men took bronze in their medley relay as the powerful American team, led by Michael Phelps and Nathan Adrian, ended the meet in fine style.
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