On-song Campbell hits Olympic tune

Australia's Cate Campbell has exorcised her Rio demons to win Olympic 100m freestyle bronze.
Australia's Cate Campbell has exorcised her Rio demons to win Olympic 100m freestyle bronze.

Cate Campbell sang 'I Am Woman' on repeat to keep her demons at bay.

The Australian swim stalwart knew the thoughts were coming, of her self-described choke five years ago at the Rio Olympics.

So, on the morning of her 100-metres freestyle final in Tokyo, she was prepared.

"In terms of how I kept the memories at bay, I have pretty much had I Am Woman on repeat in my head," Campbell said.

"Because the lyrics are just about the most perfect thing that I have heard coming into this meet."

Five years ago, Campbell entered the Rio final as world record holder only to wobble on the blocks before finishing sixth.

On Friday in Tokyo, she took bronze behind gold-medallist Emma McKeon of Australia to put an end-point on a period of self-gnashing over Rio.

"It takes a lot of discipline to keep those nagging doubts at bay," she said.

"When you're in a position where you have had a bad experience, and then you wilfully go and put yourself in that position again, understandably you're body is saying 'what are you doing to me?'.

"I have done a lot of work in the past five years, a lot of processing.

"And for me there are many things that have changed, I am incredibly proud of the person who I am outside of the swimming pool.

"I am a person first and swimmer second.

'And sometimes that gets lost in the constant desire to keep performing and to keep winning. It can get all-consuming and you become an all-or-nothing kind of person."

Campbell is among the favourites for the 50m freestyle sprint, with heats on Friday night.

Beyond that? Perhaps a fifth Olympics in Paris in 2024?

"To be honest I am only thinking about going and doing my doping and then going back to the village and getting something to eat," she said.

"I have still got races to do.

"I haven't really thought beyond what I need to do to get myself in the best position to perform again.

"But having a really good result (in the 100) and being really happy with my performance definitely brings a lot of enjoyment.

"And I have always said I will only swim as long as I enjoy it."

Australian Associated Press