KAZAN, Russia (AFP) - Australia’s Bronte Campbell kept it in the family by winning 100m freestyle gold at the world swimming championships on Friday to succeed her sister Cate Campbell as champion.
Campbell clocked 52.52 seconds to win the title with Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom taking silver at 0.18sec back while sibling Cate had to settle for bronze at 0.30 in the blue riband sprint.
“It was unbelievable. Me and my big sister were standing up there on the podium singing the national anthem together,” said the 21-year-old Bronte.
“It was great to be able to share the moment with her.
“As for our family tactics, I guess we sort of made a Campbell sandwich there.
“I couldn’t believe it when I turned round and saw the one next to my name, then I saw the time as well.
“I couldn’t be happier with that.
“It’s everyone’s dream. That is why you train. You want to be the best you can be and today I happened to the best in the world.
“That sounds really strange coming out of my mouth, truly surreal.
“I’ve had back-to-back training and that’s an advantage I had over Cate,” said Bronte, referring to her sister’s shoulder surgery last year.
It is the first time sisters have made the podium at a world swimming championships in an individual event, but the Campbells had already stood on the dais together in Kazan in the relay.
Bronte Campbell collected her second gold here after the sisters both swam in their country’s victorious 4x100m freestyle team last Sunday.
“Its a fantastic night for the Campbell family, it’s a fantastic night for Australia,” said Cate Campbell, 23, who had won the 100m world title in Barcelona two years ago.
“I still got to stand up on the podium and sing the national anthem. I couldn’t be prouder of my little sister.
“I knew I hadn’t won and when I saw a one next to a Campbell I was like ‘oh my goodness, there’s only one other Campbell in the world in this pool at this moment and it’s not me, so it has to be Bronte’.
“I almost feel a little bit sorry for Sarah - we were a bit rude, we kind of just rushed together and I am so thrilled for Bronte.
“I’ve seen her train hard and come through over many, many years.
“We’ve been racing together since she was seven and I was nine, so it was absolutely her moment.”
A Russian journalist asked if the Campbells had ever considered copying boxing’s Ukrainian world heavyweight champion brothers – Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko – who have a pact to never fight each other.
“We never sat down and said we won’t race each other, we used to dream of racing together as kids,” said Bronte.
“We love to be in the same races, it’s what pushes us on.
“It might have made everyone’s life easier if Cate had swum breaststroke and I’d swum backstroke, but besides I don’t punch Cate,” she added with a grin.
The Campbell sisters started a great night for Australia in the Kazan pool as Mitchell Larkin completed the backstroke double with gold in the men’s 200m final having already won the 100m final on Tuesday.
He’s the first Australian to achieve the backstroke double at a world championships.
The men’s team then claimed bronze in the 4x200m freestyle relay final behind winners Britain and silver-medallists the United States.