KAZAN: The sisters of speed are keeping the 100-meter freestyle title all in the family. Bronte Campbell led all the way against a strong field at the world championships yesterday, winning in 52.52 seconds to take the title away from older sister and defending champion Cate Campbell.
“I still can’t believe that,” Bronte said. The 21-year-old Australian sprinter was under world-record pace at the turn, with Cate in second. Bronte held on for gold and Cate settled for bronze. “It’s a fantastic night for the Campbell family and it’s a fantastic night for Australia,” Cate said. “I couldn’t be more proud of my little sister.” Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden took silver in 52.70, a repeat of her finish two years ago in Barcelona.
Bronte earned the biggest international victory of her young career with the fastest time in the world this year, knocking her sister and Femke Heemskerk of the Netherlands out of the top spot they shared. “I’ve had a lot of good training,” Bronte said. “That’s an advantage I’ve had over Cate because she had shoulder surgery less than a year ago. I’ve seen her come back from that and struggle through all the rehab, which took forever. I know I wouldn’t be standing on the podium without her, so the medal is really half hers anyway.”
Olympic champion Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands was fourth. Heemskerk was fifth, followed by Simone Manuel and her US teammate Missy Franklin. Bronte went over the lane line and bypassed Sjostrom to find her sister for a watery hug before pumping her right arm. Later, she planted a playoff kiss on Cate’s cheek.
“She helps keep me calm. She’s sort of like my lucky talisman,” Bronte said. “But when we get out behind the blocks it’s like every man or woman for themselves.” The sisters live and train together, with Cate having been the dominant swimmer in the event the last few years. But Bronte has been coming on, and is a medal threat for next year’s Olympics. In Barcelona, she finished 11th in the 100 free, and last year earned silver at the Commonwealth Games.
“It wasn’t my year this year but there’s always next year and next year is an Olympic year,” Cate said. “I will definitely be back in the pool doing the hard yards and making sure that I make it as tough for her as possible.” And little sis should forget about taking over at home, too.
“She will not be getting the bigger bedroom nor the walk-in wardrobe,” said Cate, who is two years and six days older. The Aussies earned a second gold on the night when Mitchell Larkin rallied to win the 200 backstroke, completing a sweep of the backstroke events in Kazan.
“The Campbell sisters getting first and third was amazing, and that sort of inspired me and really motivated me,” Larkin said. He trailed Ryosuke Irie after two laps before surging to the lead on the third lap. Larkin won in 1 minute, 53.58 seconds to go with his title in the 100 back.
Radoslaw Kawecki of Poland finished second in 1:54.55. Evgeny Rylov of Russia was third at 1:54.60. Irie, the Olympic silver medalist, faded to sixth. Olympic champion Tyler Clary of the United States was seventh in an event the Americans have dominated for years.
“I might have (ticked) off a few people this week,” Larkin said. “They’ll be training really hard for the next 12 months. But it’s a new challenge for me and I look forward to it.” James Guy rallied Britain to victory over the United States on the last lap of the 4×200 freestyle relay, an event the Americans had won at every worlds since 2005.
Ryan Lochte led off and put the Americans in front. Conor Dwyer and Reed Malone keep them there until Guy passed inexperienced U.S. anchor Michael Weiss to win in 7:04.33. The Americans settled for silver in 7:04.75. Australia was third at 7:05.34, earning its fourth medal of the night. “We’re going to definitely remember this,” Lochte said. “Hopefully we’re going to train our butts off all next year and hopefully not let that happen again in Rio.”
Marco Koch of Germany rallied to take the lead on the third lap and won the men’s 200 breaststroke in 2:07.76. He briefly dipped under world-record pace on the final turn after Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki threatened the world mark over the first two laps. Kevin Cordes of the US finished second in 2:08.05. Three-time defending champion Daniel Gyurta of Hungary was third in 2:08.10.
In the women’s 200 breast, Kanako Watanabe of Japan overtook Rikke Pedersen on the last lap to win in 2:21.15. Micah Lawrence of the United States rallied from fourth to finish second in 2:22.44. Pedersen, the silver medalist two years ago and world record holder from Denmark, was part of a three-way tie for third.
Pedersen, Jessica Vall of Spain and Shi Jinglin of China all touched in 2:22.76. American Nathan Adrian was fastest in the semifinals of the chaotic 50 free. His time of 21.37 edged out Florent Manaudou of France, who touched in 21.41. Vladimir Morozov of Russia, disqualified for a false start in the 100 free, beat American Anthony Ervin by 0.08 seconds in a swim-off for the eighth and last spot in today’s final. -AP