Rio Olympics 2016: 1 day to go

Campbells race together rather than each other

Sisters Cate (far left) and Bronte Campbell speaking to the media during the Australian swim team's press conference in Rio on Tuesday. They are rivals for the 100m freestyle title but team-mates in the relay.
Sisters Cate (left) and Bronte Campbell speaking to the media during the Australian swim team's press conference in Rio on Tuesday. They are rivals for the 100m freestyle title but team-mates in the relay.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

RIO DE JANEIRO • Sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell give Australia a formidable one-two punch in the Olympic pool, with none of the angst endured by tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams when they have to face each other.

"I think it's very different to Serena and Venus," said younger sister Bronte, 22. "We're swimming in a swimming pool with six other swimmers in the race.

"I'm not really swimming against Cate, I'm racing against myself and trying to do my best race."

STILL THE SAME APPROACH

I knew Cate was swimming well. Breaking the world record is an amazing thing and I'm really proud of her for doing it, but it doesn't change anything for me.

BRONTE CAMPBELL, world 100m freestyle champion, on her older sister's feat.

While the Williams sisters found it difficult to play each other early in their careers, the swimming set-up gives the close-knit Campbells, who live and train together, more of an us-against-them opportunity.

"We've always enjoyed racing together, against the rest of the world, not necessarily against each other," Bronte said.

But the stakes are high with each sister a legitimate contender.

Bronte, the reigning 100m freestyle world champion, was sidelined by a respiratory infection when Cate clocked a world-record 52.06sec in the 100m free at a meeting in Brisbane on July 2. That time eclipsed the 52.07sec set by Britta Steffen in the era of now-banned super-suits.

"I thought my dad was joking," Bronte said of his call to tell her the news. "I didn't think he was telling the truth."

But she said her sister's feat does not alter her approach to their races.

"We're all there to compete," she said. "We're all there to win, and breaking the world record doesn't change that for me.

"It's all about what happens in the final and who can be the fastest on the night.

"I knew Cate was swimming well. Breaking the world record is an amazing thing and I'm really proud of her for doing it, but it doesn't change anything for me."

The world record has intensified the spotlight on Cate ahead of the individual 100m free.

But the 24-year-old said she is really looking forward to teaming up with her sister when Australia defend their 4x100m free relay title on the first night of competition in Rio.

The two were on the squad that set the world record in the event at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

"I think that will be a really great night," she said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2016, with the headline 'Campbells race together rather than each other'. Print Edition | Subscribe