By NATALIA HAWK
You’ve probably heard of Cate Campbell before. She’s the Australian Olympic swimmer who got some serious attention after winning not one, but two bronze medals at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Cate went on to win a gold medal in the freestyle relay at the 2012 London Olympics, and also made headlines a couple of weeks ago after winning gold in both the 50m and 100m freestyle events at the 2013 Australian Swimming Championships – which qualified her for the 2013 World Aquatics Championships (where she won the 100m freestyle title).
Oh, and she’s only 21.
The other amazing thing about Cate? She does all her swimming right beside her 19-year-old sister, Bronte Campbell. At the 2012 Olympics, the two of them swam in the same heat, finishing third and second to qualify for the semi-final. They also teamed up in the freestyle relay at the recent world championships, winning the silver medal after finishing just 0.12 seconds behind the US team.
I chatted to Cate recently about her start in swimming, her relationship with Bronte, her job at Australia Post, and what the men’s swimming team is really like…
Nat: How did you get started in swimming?
Cate: I’ve always been able to swim. My mum used to be a synchronised swimmer so she taught me and my three sisters to swim, and when we moved from Africa to Australia, I just joined the local swim club as a way to meet new people,. It was pretty hot, so we needed a sport that would keep us cool. And yeah, I’ve never left, I’ve been with the same coach for the past 10 years.
N: How did you begin getting competitive in swimming?
C: My little recipe for success is to find something that you’re good at and you enjoy, and I guess that I just kind of fell into swimming in that way – I enjoyed it and I was pretty good at it. The more I did it, the more I enjoyed it, and the better I got, therefore the more I enjoyed it – and it just went in that cycle. When I was about 15, I made the conscious decision that I wanted to try and make it to the Olympics.
My most memorable moment so far was in 2012, when me and my sister made the Olympic team together. Bronte’s two years younger than me and she’s always been with me throughout my swimming journey. When we got 1st and 2nd in the 50m freestyle, I knew that she would make the Olympic team. That’s still the highlight of my swimming career to this day.
N: So there’s no sibling rivalry at all?
C: Not when it comes to swimming. When it comes to winning Mario Cart, yes! But yeah, we’ve had to turn off the rivalry when it comes to swimming. We train together, we live together so it would make for a very awkward night around the dinner table if we got too competitive.
N: Have you found it really helpful to have a sibling along with you on the journey?
C: Absolutely. I used to get homesick and really lonely when away, but this way I can sort of take a little piece of home with me. We’ve done everything together for the longest time so she’s the closest person to me on this planet and to be able to share everything with her is really really a blessing.