Bronte Campbell

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Australian women break 4x100m freestyle relay world record

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Australia lowered the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay world record for the third time in four years, taking gold at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast on Thursday.

Shayna JackBronte CampbellEmma McKeon and Cate Campbell clocked 3:30.05, bettering their 3:30.65 record from the Rio Olympics.

Cate Campbell, the former individual 100m free world-record holder, anchored in 51.00 seconds, believed to be the fastest split in history. The previous fastest was believed to be Campbell’s 51.59 from the medley relay at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Campbell had the individual 100m free world record of 52.06 before Swede Sarah Sjöström clocked 51.71 at the 2017 World Championships.

Though Campbell’s split is ineligible for world-record purposes because it was off a relay exchange, it’s still the first 100m free by a woman faster than Mark Spitz‘s fastest-ever individual 100m free (then-world record 51.22 at Munich Olympics; though Spitz was 50.90 on his relay split in Munich).

The Aussie women have a history of great freestyle sprinters but struggled at recent major competitions since winning the 2016 Olympic 4x100m free relay over the U.S. (and ultimately keeping Katie Ledecky from five golds in Rio).

Cate Campbell was fifth and sixth in the 50m and 100m frees in Rio after clocking the fastest 50m free in a textile suit at the Australian Olympic Trials and breaking the 100m free world record one month before the Games. Campbell later said that she swam in Rio with a hernia.

She then skipped the 2017 World Championships because she needed a break to continue on to a possible fourth Olympics in 2020, according to the Australian.

“I’m just making sure I get my body right and my mind right because I do want to continue through to 2018, and at the moment, 2020,’’ she said 13 months ago, according to the newspaper. “I’ve battled injuries pretty much my whole career, and my injuries aren’t just an issue in the swimming pool. I wake up a couple of times every night because I’m sore from my neck and it carries over into day to day life.”

At the 2017 Worlds, sister Bronte and McKeon were seventh and eighth in the 100m free. The last time Australia failed to put a woman in the top six at an Olympics or worlds was 2001.

Also at 2017 Worlds, the Australian women lost the 4x100m free relay by .29 to a U.S. quartet that broke its national record. The U.S., with Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel, clocked 3:31.72 that day. On Thursday in Gold Coast, Australia went 1.67 seconds faster, benefitting from Campbell’s return.

There are no Olympics or worlds this summer, but the U.S. and Australia should both compete at the Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo in August.

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Cate, Bronte Campbell make Australia relay formidable at Olympic Trials

Cate Campbell, Bronte Campbell
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The Australian women are the reigning Olympic and World champions and world-record holders in the 4x100m freestyle relay.

And they looked stronger than ever before on Tuesday.

Cate CampbellBronte Campbell and Emma McKeon all broke 53 seconds in the Australian Olympic Trials 100m freestyle final in Adelaide (52.38, 52.58. 52.80). No American has ever broken 53 seconds.

Brittany Elmslie finished fourth in 53.54 to round out the likely Rio Olympic final quartet.

The top four went a combined 4.72 seconds faster on Tuesday than the top four at the Australian trials in 2012, when the Aussies went on to win the Olympic title by .64 in an Olympic record. They went 1.59 seconds faster than the top four at the 2015 Australian Championships.

“There are four women in the world who are swimming under 53 seconds, and three of them are not just from Australia, we all train in Queensland,” Cate said on Australian TV after the race.

Since the 2012 Olympics, five women in the world have broken 53 seconds — Swede Sarah Sjostrom, the Netherlands’ Femke Heemskerk (in 2015 most recently) and those three Aussies.

Two of them, the Campbell sisters who took individual 100m free gold and bronze at the 2015 Worlds, came into the Australian trials having dealt with injuries in recent training.

The U.S.’ fastest 100m freestyler since the 2012 Olympics? Simone Manuel‘s 53.25 in 2014.

The Aussies will be heavily favored in the 4x100m free relay on the first night of Olympic competition on Aug. 6, unless the Americans or the Dutch put together vastly faster swims than they’ve ever recorded at their Olympic Trials.

Depending on how trials go, the U.S. 4x100m free relay quartet could include Manuel and Olympic champions Missy FranklinKatie Ledecky and Natalie Coughlin in a star-studded field.

At the 2015 World Championships, Franklin and Manuel bookended a U.S. quartet that took bronze, 3.13 seconds behind the Aussies.

MORE: James Magnussen fails to make Olympic 100m freestyle

U.S. finishes World Swimming Championships atop medal standings

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The U.S. won five medals Sunday to finish the World Swimming Championships atop the gold and overall medal standings, albeit with its fewest medals in Olympic events at an Olympics or Worlds in 50 years.

The medals Sunday came from the men’s medley relay (gold); silvers from Connor Jaeger (1500m freestyle), Maya DiRado (400m individual medley) and Matt Grevers (50m backstroke); and bronze from Chase Kalisz (400m individual medley). The U.S. women’s medley relay with Missy Franklin finished fourth.

The U.S. won 23 medals and eight golds over eight days in Kazan, Russia.

It surpassed its fewest overall medals won at an Olympics or World Championships in the last 50 years, the 21 it won at the 1994 World Championships (not counting the boycotted Moscow 1980 Olympics).

However, the U.S. earned 18 medals counting only Olympic events, which marked its lowest output in that category at an Olympics or Worlds in 50 years. The previous low was 20 at the 2009 World Championships.

The U.S. won 29 overall medals at the 2011 and 2013 Worlds, with 24 and 25 in Olympic events those years, respectively. The last time it didn’t have the most gold medals was the 2001 Worlds (Australia). The last time it didn’t have the most overall medals was the 1986 Worlds (East Germany).

The U.S. also matched its fewest swimmers to win individual Olympic or World Championships titles in the last 50 years — two, Katie Ledecky and Ryan Lochte. In 1994, Janet Evans and Tom Dolan were the two World champions.

Ledecky, with five golds in five events, earned FINA’s Female Swimmer of the Meet for a second straight Worlds. As did China’s Sun Yang on the men’s side, after he won the 400m and 800m frees*.

The U.S. missed Michael Phelps, who sat out the meet as punishment for his Sept. 30 DUI arrest, and Franklin was not quite in her 2013 form that saw her win six gold medals in Barcelona.

But also, Australia had a resurgence, sweeping the men’s and women’s 100m and 200m backstrokes. Australia took 16 medals with seven golds overall. Its seven golds were more than its total from the 2011 Worlds, 2012 Olympics and 2013 Worlds combined.

China continued its rise over the last decade, finishing with 13 medals and five golds.

World Swimming Championships: Full meet results

In Sunday’s events, the U.S. men’s medley relay team prevailed with Ryan MurphyKevin CordesTom Shields and Nathan Adrian holding off Australia by .15.

The U.S. women with Franklin, Jessica HardyKendyl Stewart and Simone Manuel finished 2.35 seconds behind winner China. Sweden took silver and Australia bronze.

Earlier in the men’s 1500m freestyle, Chinese Olympic and World champion Sun shockingly did not show up for the final. Sun said in a post-meet press conference that it was due to a heart problem and declined to comment when asked about a reported warm-up altercation with a Brazilian swimmer, according to reporters on site.

Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri won in his absence, followed by Jaeger in an American record for silver and Canada’s Ryan Cochrane getting bronze.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu swept the individual medleys for a second straight Worlds. DiRado won her first individual Worlds medal, a silver, 1.32 seconds behind. Canada’s Emily Overholt took bronze.

Japan’s Daiya Seto repeated as World champion in the grueling 400m individual medley. Kalisz, who earned silver behind Seto in his World Championships debut in 2013, took bronze behind Hungary’s David Verraszto this year.

Australian Bronte Campbell followed her 100m free title with gold in the 50m freestyle in 24.12 seconds, beating the reigning Dutch Olympic and World champion Ranomi Kromowidjojo by one tenth. Swede Sarah Sjostrom took bronze for her fourth individual medal of the meet.

In the non-Olympic men’s 50m backstroke, France’s Camille Lacourt won in 24.23, followed by Grevers in 24.61 and Australian Ben Treffers snagging bronze. Australian Mitch Larkin, attempting to sweep the backstrokes, finished fourth.

Grevers, the 2012 Olympic 100m back champion, finished third behind Larkin and Lacourt in the 100m back in Kazan.

In the non-Olympic women’s 50m breaststroke, Sweden’s Jennie Johansson edged Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson by .06, with Russian Yulia Efimova snagging bronze. Atkinson, who took bronze in the 100m breast earlier, is the first Jamaican to win a World Swimming Championships medal.

Michael Phelps answers Chad le Clos with world’s top 100m butterfly

Men’s 400m Individual Medley
Gold: Daiya Seto (JPN) — 4:08.50
Silver: David Verraszto (HUN) — 4:09.90
Bronze: Chase Kalisz (USA) — 4:10.05
4. Tyler Clary (USA) — 4:11.71
5. Jacob Heidtmann (GER) — 4:12.08
6. Dan Wallace (GBR) — 4:13.77
7. Roberto Pavoni (ITA) — 4:13.81
8. Yang Zhixian (CHN) — 4:16.74

Women’s 50m Freestyle
Gold: Bronte Campbell (AUS) — 24.12
Silver: Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) — 24.22
Bronze: Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) — 24.31
4. Cate Campbell (AUS) — 24.36
5. Chantal Van Landeghem (CAN) — 24.39
6. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (BAH) — 24.44
7. Francesca Halsall (GBR) — 24.51
8. Simone Manuel (USA) — 24.57

Men’s 1500m Freestyle
Gold: Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) — 14:39.67
Silver: Connor Jaeger (USA) — 14:41.20
Bronze: Ryan Cochrane (CAN) — 14:51.08
4. Akram Ahmed (EGY) — 14:53.66
5. Stephen Milne (GBR) — 14:58.62
6. Michael McBroom (USA) — 15:06.81
7. Mykhailo Romanchuk (UKR) — 15:09.77
DNS. Sun Yang (CHN)

Women’s 400m Individual Medley
Gold: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) — 4:30.39
Silver: Maya DiRado (USA) — 4:31.77
Bronze: Emily Overholt (CAN) — 4:32.52
4. Hannah Miley (GBR) — 4:34.79
5. Barbora Zavadova (CZE) — 4:36.73
6. Sakiko Shimizu (JPN) — 4:37.19
7. Aimee Willmott (GBR) — 4:38.75
8. Lara Grangeon (FRA) — 4:40.98

Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay
Gold: USA — 3:29.93
Silver: Australia — 3:30.08
Bronze: France — 3:30.50
4. Great Britain — 3:30.67
5. Russia — 3:30.90
6. Japan — 3:31.10
7. Germany — 3:32.16
8. Poland — 3:34.34

Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay
Gold: China — 3:54.41
Silver: Sweden — 3:55.24
Bronze: Australia — 3:55.56
4. U.S. — 3:56.76
5. Denmark — 3:57.61
6. Canada — 3:57.96
DQ. Great Britain
DQ. Japan

*Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Sun Yang won the 400m and 1500m freestyles. He won the 400m and 800m freestyles.