Cate Campbell

Cate Natalie Campbell, OAM (born 20 May 1992) is an Australian competitive swimmer, and a current multiple world record holder, who won two bronze medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics, a gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics and a gold and a silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics. She is the current world record holder in the Long Course 4 x 100 m Freestyle Relay with Team Australia and the short course 100 m freestyle.

Cate Natalie Campbell
Personal information
Full nameCate Natalie Campbell
National team Australia
Born (1992-05-20) 20 May 1992
Blantyre, Malawi
Height186 cm (6 ft 1 in)[1]
Weight74 kg (163 lb)[1]
CoachSimon Cusack[2]

She is coached by Simon Cusack at the Commercial Swimming Club.

Early life

Cate is the first of five children born to South African parents, Eric, an accountant, and Jenny, a nurse.[3] She has four younger siblings (three sisters and one brother): Bronte, Jessica, Hamish, and Abigail. Her brother Hamish has severe cerebral palsy and requires around-the-clock care.[4][5]

Jenny used to be a swimmer and taught her four daughters to swim,[6] in the pool at the family's home. Cate also recalls swimming near Hippopotami in Lake Malawi as a small child.[7] It was in this lake that her father, Eric, would go sailing on weekends.[8] Campbell and her siblings were homeschooled as children.[7] Her mother also frequently read the Bible to her, while she was growing up.[9] The Campbells lived in a big house, with no TV. They had many pets, including turkeys, guinea pigs, dogs, cats, and chickens. Campbell describes every morning like "an Easter egg hunt; the chickens would lay eggs all around the house."[10]

During her schooling, Campbell states she could not sing or dance, but swimming was something in which she excelled. She also stated she received top marks for public speaking at school. Aside from those, she claims she was an "average student".[11]

The Campbells moved from Malawi to Australia in 2001 and it was soon after this that Campbell took up competitive swimming. She completed her secondary school studies at Kenmore State High School in Brisbane, Queensland. Her sister Bronte is also an Olympic swimmer and the pair competed in the same event at the 2012 Summer Olympics.[12]

In 2007, she went to the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney and won two gold medals in the 50 metre individual freestyle and 4 × 100 metre freestyle relay. She followed this up in 2008 with a victory in the 50 metre freestyle at the Japan Open, beating compatriot Libby Trickett and setting new Australian and Commonwealth records with her time of 24.48 seconds.


2008 Olympics

Cate was the fastest qualifier into the 50 metre freestyle semi-finals, after recording a time of 24.20 seconds. This placed her in Lane 4 in the semi-finals against the world record holder Libby Trickett. In the second semi-final Cate placed second in a time of 24.42 seconds, placing her in Lane 5 for the final. In the final, she placed third in a time of 24.17. She also won bronze as part of Australia's women's 4 x 100 metre freestyle relay team.

2009 World Championship

Despite doing a time trial of 53.40 seconds, with her 100-metre performance of 56.39 from 5 months earlier in March and having hip problems, she was scratched from the women's 4 × 100 metre freestyle. However, she still earned the right to swim the 50 metre freestyle from her runner-up swim at the world championships trials. In Rome she finished with a bronze, beating compatriot Libby Trickett and ending 0.02 of a second off the Commonwealth Record.

2012 Olympics

Campbell was a member of the Australian team that won the gold medal in the 4 × 100 metre freestyle relay at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.[13] In the women's 50 metre freestyle she and her sister Bronte swam in the same heat, finishing third and second respectively, and qualifying for the semi-final in tenth and ninth place respectively.[14]


At the 2013 Australian Swimming Championships she won gold in both the 50 and 100 metre freestyle events, qualifying for the 2013 World Aquatics Championships. At the World Championships, she teamed up with her sister Bronte, Emma McKeon and Alicia Coutts in the 4 × 100 metre freestyle relay where they won the silver medal, finishing 0.12 of a second behind the American team.[15] On the sixth day of competition, Campbell won the 100 metre freestyle world title with a time of 52.34 seconds.[16] Campbell finished ahead of Sarah Sjöström of Sweden and defending Olympic champion, Ranomi Kromowidjojo.


At the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, she won gold in the 4 × 100 metre freestyle relay, beating the Dutch and US teams by a comfortable lead.[17] On the 100 metre freestyle event she finished third, behind Bronte Campbell and Sarah Sjöström.[18] At the 2015 Australian Short Course Swimming Championships in Sydney, she broke the short course 100 metre freestyle world record in a time of 50.91, becoming the first woman to go under 51 seconds.[19]


At the 2016 Australian Swimming Championships she won the 100 metre freestyle to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics. She broke the Australian record in the 50 metre freestyle in the semifinals with a time of 23.93, which was the fastest time ever in a textile swimsuit.[20] She went on to win the final and qualify for the Olympics in the 50 metre freestyle, improving her time to 23.84.[21] In addition, Campbell also qualified for the Olympic team in both the 4 × 100 m freestyle (winning Gold in a new World Record time) & 4 × 100 m medley relays.[22] At the 2016 Australian Grand Prix meet, she broke the long course 100 metre freestyle world record in a time of 52.06. This was 0.01 seconds faster than the previous world record set by Britta Steffen during the super suit era.

2016 Summer Olympics

At the 2016 Summer Olympics Campbell won a gold medal as a member of the Australian women's 4 × 100 m freestyle team. The team, which included Campbell's sister Bronte, set a world record time of 3:30.65. This was followed by a silver medal as a member of the women's 4 × 100 m medley team. In the Olympic final of the 100 m freestyle, Campbell was the favourite, however after leading at the first turn, she faded and finished 6th in 53.24, despite breaking the Olympic record in the heats and semifinals with times of 52.78 and 52.71, respectively. She narrowly missed a medal in the 50 m freestyle final, finishing 5th.[23]


After the Rio Olympics, Campbell took 2017 off from swimming competitively in order to recover from disappointment.[24] She used most of the year to do "normal things" other people her age might do, taking her first real break from training since the age of 9.[25] At the 2017 Australian Short Course Swimming Championships she broke the 100 metre freestyle world record in a time of 50.25, improving the previous mark by 0.33 seconds.[26]


Campbell returned to competition for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, winning gold and breaking the world record in the women's 4 × 100m freestyle relay, alongside sister Bronte, Emma McKeon and Shayna Jack.[27] She then won gold for the women's 50m freestyle, with a time of 23.78, breaking a Commonwealth record.[28] She also won gold for the women's 50m butterfly, despite having no prior experience in the stroke. She stated she opted for the event to "shake things up" and "to try something new and different".[29] Campbell claimed the silver medal for the 100m freestyle with a time of 52.69, touching behind her sister Bronte, who had a time of 52.27.[30]

Personal life

In 2015, Campbell opened up about her struggles with body image. She confessed that pressure from TV and magazine models made her want to be skinny, however it reached the point where she was getting sick. She read a chapter in Michael Phelps' book Beneath the Surface, where the line "skinny swimmers aren't good swimmers" stuck out in her head. Her mother encouraged her to see a dietitian, and now believes "the sum of your worth is so much more than what you look like".[31]

Since 2011, Campbell has been studying a degree in Mass Communication at Queensland University of Technology.[32] She has stated that she wants to pursue a career that combines her interest in the media industry with her love of sport, when she retires.[33] She is a member of the QUT Elite Athlete program.[34]

Until December 2016, Campbell lived with her sister Bronte. As of 2017, they are no longer housemates.[35] She subsequently bought a house in Morningside, Queensland.[36]

Campbell enjoys hiking, listening to music, newspaper crosswords, and brewing Kombucha. She also owns a kayak.[37][38]

She is a supporter of Nexus Care, a not-for-profit organisation, that aims to improve the lives of those living in poverty in the northern suburbs of Brisbane.[39][40]

In November 2018, Campbell revealed she had been diagnosed with a stage one melanoma that developed in a mole she had had her whole life and had to get it removed. She urged her fans to get regular skin checks, stating "an hour out of your day once or twice a year is all it takes". She has since been praised for raising awareness of skin cancer.[41]

Personal bests

Long course
Event Time Date Location
50 m freestyle 23.78 CR 2018-04-07 Southport, Australia
100 m freestyle 52.03 CR 2018-08-10 Tokyo, Japan[42]
50 m butterfly 25.47 OC 2018-03-01 Gold Coast, Australia[43]
Short course
Event Time Date Location
50 m freestyle 23.19 CR 2017-10-27 Adelaide, Australia
100 m freestyle 50.25 WR 2017-10-26 Adelaide, Australia

Notes: WR = world record, CR = Commonwealth record, OC = Oceanian record, NR = national record

See also


  1. "Cate Campbell". FINA. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  2. Lord, Craig (26 November 2015). "Emily Seebohm Riding Golden wave To Rio With A 1:59 Australian 200 Back S/C Record". Swimvortex. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
  3. "Campbell: Top Of The World". Inside Sport. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  4. "Sister act set to rock Glasgow pool". Fox Sports. 20 July 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  5. "Subscribe to The Daily Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  6. "Sport on Saturdays: Meet Cate Campbell, Olympic swimmer". Mamamia. 5 October 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  7. "Who are... Cate and Bronte Campbell". NBC Olympics. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  8. Paxinos, Stathi (29 March 2014). "Swimming stars find inspiration close to home". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  9. "Bronte and Cate Campbell talk about life in and out of pool". ZwemZa. 25 July 2016. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  10. "Double trouble: Swim sisters". 15 May 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  11. Cooke, Richard (12 July 2014). "Making a splash: Cate Campbell, 22, swimmer". The Saturday Paper. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  12. "Campbell Sisters to swim in London". Archived from the original on 4 November 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  13. Women's 4 x 100 m Freestyle Relay Archived 5 December 2012 at,
  14. Women's 50 m Freestyle: Heats Archived 22 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine,
  15. "Final results of Women's 4 × 100 metre freestyle relay at the 2013 World Aquatics Championships" (PDF). Omega Timing. 28 July 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  17. Final results
  18. Final results
  19. Final Results
  20. Lord, Craig (13 April 2016). "Cate Campbell Breaks World Textile Tie With Fran Halsall With 23.93 CR Dash Mark". Swimvortex. Archived from the original on 21 April 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  21. Keith, Braden (14 April 2016). "Cate Campbell Swims 23.84 in Final, Moves to #2 All-Time". Swimswam. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  22. "2016 Australian Olympic Swimming Team selected". Australian Olympic Committee. 14 April 2016. Archived from the original on 11 October 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  23. Pentony, Luke (12 August 2016). "Rio 2016: Cate Campbell misses Olympic medal in stunning upset in 100 metres freestyle final". ABC Online. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  24. Clark, Laine (3 March 2018). "Cate Campbell caps stunning return with national record at trials". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  25. "Cate Campbell's mum Jenny reveals her depression fears for Cate after Rio Olympics struggle".
  26. "Cate Campbell Takes Back 100 Free SCM World Record at Australian Championships". Swimming World Magazine. 26 October 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  27. Stutchbury, Greg. "Campbell sisters power Australia to swimming world record". U.K. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  28. Lutton, Phil (7 April 2018). "No nerves, no doubts; Cate Campbell delivers when it counts in 50m free triumph". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  29. "Cate Campbell and Mitch Larkin both salute in their 50m events at the Commonwealth Games".
  30. "Commonwealth Games 2018: Bronte Campbell wins swimming freestyle 100m over Cate Campbell". Fox Sports. 9 April 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  31. "Campbell dives into body image debate". Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  32. "News". QUT. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  33. "Swimming Australia – Athlete Profiles". Archived from the original on 18 October 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  34. "QUT celebrates our Rio athletes". QUT. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  35. "Cate Campbell buying a Brisbane house –". 4 February 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  36. "For love, not money, swimming champ Cate Campbell makes next property move". Domain. 7 June 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  37. "Cate Campbell Opens Up About Overcoming A 'Quarter Life Crisis' To Prepare For The Commonwealth Games". ELLE. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  38. "Aussie swimmers the Campbell sisters doing it for themselves". Women's Health. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  39. "Welcome to Nexus Care". Nexus Care. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  40. "About". Nexus Care. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  41. "Cate Campbell reveals melanoma scare". The Women's Game. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  42. James Sutherland (10 August 2018). "Cate Campbell Breaks 100 Free World Record By .01 Seconds". Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  43. Loretta Race (28 February 2018). "Cate Campbell Rocks New 50 Fly Australian National Record". Retrieved 28 April 2019.
Preceded by
Britta Steffen
Women's 100-metre freestyle
world record-holder (long course)

2 July 2016 – 23 July 2017
Succeeded by
Sarah Sjöström
Preceded by
Libby Trickett
Sarah Sjöström
Women's 100-metre freestyle
world record-holder (short course)

28 November 2015 – 3 August 2017
26 October 2017 – present
Succeeded by
Sarah Sjöström
Preceded by
Florent Manaudou, Jérémy Stravius, Mélanie Henique, Anna Santamans
Mixed 4 × 50 metres freestyle relay world record-holder
10 November 2013 – 14 December 2013
With: Regan Leong (10 to 10 November), Tommaso D'Orsogna, Travis Mahoney, Bronte Campbell
Succeeded by
Sergey Fesikov, Vladimir Morozov, Rozaliya Nasretdinova, Veronika Popova
Preceded by
Ye Shiwen
Pacific Rim Swimmer of the Year
2013, 2014
Succeeded by
Emily Seebohm
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