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Australian swimming team is revived and hungry after London Olympics low

August 10, 2013
Christian Sprenger, Alicia Coutts, Cate Campbell and James Magnussen reached great heights in Barcelona. Picture: David Ramos/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Christian Sprenger, Alicia Coutts, Cate Campbell and James Magnussen reached great heights in Barcelona. Picture: David Ramos/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

The Australian swim team has a new attitude, new motto and a hunger to restore its golden standing on the world stage.

After their worst performance at an Olympic Games in 20 years, the world championship in Barcelona saw the team revive itself with three gold and 10 silver medals.

There is a determination among the swimmers to build on this success with a new team motto of “resilience, united, relentless”.

“Honestly, we have had a complete turnaround,” Cate Campbell said.

“I am so excited to be a part of this team. The atmosphere is incredible. The support surrounding the swimmers, coaches and staff has improved tenfold.”

The team has also become more disciplined as a unit.

“I think everyone knows the boundaries and everyone operated within them,” Campbell said.

“When you don’t have boundaries, it’s like having a herd without a fence, and the herd gets scattered so to speak. We’ve all kind of been penned in and there’s strength in numbers. One sheep doesn’t survive on its own.”

And the vacant head coach position has attracted interest from top US and European names. There is also hope a major sponsorship deal will soon be secured.

But driving the new era are the swimmers, with some big things expected from these names at next year’s Commonwealth Games and the Rio Olympics in 2016.


Now officially the world’s premier female sprinter.

She finished the meet with one gold and three silver medals. Over the years she has battled glandular fever, post-viral fatigue and her London Olympic campaign that was ruined by pancreatitis and ended with a broken hand.

“I attribute (this gold) to the hardships I have faced and the great support network around me,” Campbell, 21, said. “Everything tastes a lot sweeter when you really have to work hard for it. I am so excited about my future”

She has been dubbed ‘Black Caviar‘ of the pool.


Don’t expect her to sit in the slipstream of her older sister, with many expecting the 19-year-old to soon rival Cate.

Cate says of Bronte: “She battled a few setbacks and to come through make a final and swim into fifth in the 50m freestyle – that is only two away from a medal.”


The talented and gritty competitor delivered five silver medals on an arduous schedule.

Swimming Australia will work hard to keep her in the sport after she suggested she may not swim on to Rio. Susie O’Neill has also urged the 25-year-old to keep swimming.


Magnussen defended his 100m freestyle world championship crown after a hellish 12 months where he struggled with the fallout from London.

The win was a confidence booster and he has now hit the European World Cup circuit to hone his racing skills.

Magnussen said he hoped his performance showed people he had learnt from his mistakes. “I hope they see I have learnt … that I am more mature, more humble and that I am always proud to represent my country and that bringing back a gold is something I am very proud of,” Magnussen said. “I was rocked a bit after the Olympics and I needed that confidence boost.”


THE 19-year-old delivered a very strong fourth-place swim in the 100m freestyle final. It was his first individual race in a senior competition.

McEvoy is expected to grow into a sprinter who could become a regular medallist.


When he walked on to the Barcelona pool deck, Sprenger said it felt like it was his “time” and he came up with a world championship gold medal in the 100m breaststroke.

He finished the meet with gold and two silver. He might be hitting 30 by the time the Rio Olympics come around, but he said don’t write him off.

“Finally becoming a world champion has taken my career to new heights. Even at the age of 27, I feel I have got one more Olympics in me and I fell I can still go faster.”


The 18-year-old was the first Australian since Grant Hackett in 2008 to qualify for a 1500m freestyle final on the world stage and he finished sixth with a time of 15min 00.44sec.


Finished with two silver medals after entering the titles on a short preparation. At 21, she is a huge talent and is expected to become a greater force as she hones her racing skills.

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