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Thanks for the hippos - Bronte Campbell wishes to defend her titles in Budapest

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Cate and Bronte, the two Campbell-girls who dominate Australian swimming. Both of them are Olympic and world champions. It is almost impossible to leave them out of the Australian team for any major international events – except when they decide not to go. Actually, this is the case now, since in Budapest only one of the Campbells will fight for medals: Bronte.

Bronte, nicknamed the Black Caviar, was born in Malawi. She swam all the time in hot Africa as well, however, her true interest in swimming aroused only at the age of seven after Sydney Olympics, when they moved to Australia. Since the Campbell-sisters’ mother had been a synchronised swimmer, they got acquainted with water early. They often swam in Lake Malawi evading hippos.

She claimed her first international success when winning junior world championships in 50 m freestyle. A year later she qualified in the same event (50m freestyle) to the London Olympics just like her sister, Cate. This was the first time that Australian siblings competed against each other in an Olympic swimming event.

She gained her first national title only at the age of 21 defeating Cate in 50 m freestyle. The year of 2015 stood out in her career anyway. In Kazan she collected 3 gold and a bronze medal. She is the third swimmer in the history of the world championships to win 50 m and 100 m freestyle at the same competition. She added the victory in the 4x100 m freestyle relay, where she stepped on the podium with her sister, as well as the bronze in the 4x100 m medley relay.

Although she arrived at Rio as a world champion, she could not step on the podium either in 50 or in 100 m freestyle. However, Australia won the 4x100 medley relay with new world record, so now the youngest Campbell sister can also call herself an Olympic champion.

Once speaking about one of the Campbell sisters it is impossible not to mention the other, too. Although the protagonist of our article is Bronte, the sister preparing for the world championships in Budapest, we shall also explain why we do not detail Cate here: as a matter of fact, she announced in March that after being turned down by the Olympics in Rio she decided to take a year off, and though she continued swimming (participated in the Australian championships last week, too) mostly for her own pleasure she would skip this year’s world championships.

The relationship of the two swimmers is very special, since they are siblings and rivals at the same time, as they compete in the same events. According to them this situation actually brought them closer. They lived together for a long time, they trained together and they were almost inseparable. After Rio Olympics they made some big changes: Bronte moved away, bought her first house. Although it is still strange for her that morning coffee is not made by her sister.

Bronte loves poetry, she writes poems herself. On the wall there are poems by her favourites such as Kipling and Henley, and a hit list of all names of people who won races against her and she vowed to beat in the future.

The Australian swimming championship was held last week qualifying for the world championships, and Bronte did her part by winning both the 50 and 100 m freestyle, so she can prepare for defending her titles in Budapest. Who knows, maybe she can cross some names from the list by her successful performance in the world championships.


Bronte Campbell:

Born: 14th May 1994, Blantyre, Malawi

Top results:

Olympics: 1 gold (4x100 m freestyle relay – Rio)

World championships: 3 gold (50 and 100 m freestyle, 4x100 m freestyle relay – Kazan), 1 gold (4x100 m freestyle relay – Barcelona), 1 bronze (4x100 m medley relay – Kazan)