Liz Watson, Caitlin Bassett, and Courtney Bruce enjoy a laugh together. Pic Adam Head
Liz Watson, Caitlin Bassett, and Courtney Bruce enjoy a laugh together. Pic Adam Head

Bronte inspires moment of Aussie team pride

WE had a very quick turnaround between our South Africa and Fiji games this week, which we practised at our Commonwealth Games Simulation Camp at the Australian Institute of Sport in January.

Going into the Games we simulated that turnaround, which was from an 8.30pm game to a 3pm game the next day. The athletes had a chance to get used to the late finish and knew exactly what they needed to do to be game ready and back it up.

I was feeling a little tired myself before the Fiji game, because I was up quite late finishing reports back to our athletes.

I always do feedback reports immediately after the game, which are sent through our Athlete Management System. The system holds a record of all their feedback over many years. Great for the athletes, but it lends itself to very late nights for me.

To try to wake myself up I went for a walk. I saw Caitlin Thwaites and Courtney Bruce who had been for a swim in the pool. They said 'why don't you go for a swim to wake yourself up?'

I thought 'great, I didn't think of that. I'll put my bathers on and go to the pool.'

I went out to the pool in the 'rainforest' section of the Village. 'CBass' (Caitlin Bassett) and 'Rav' (Kim Ravaillion) were out there. CBass loves having her coffee by the pool. I noticed that Bronte Campbell was in the pool too, so I said hello.

CBass was telling me that Bronte decided to do some nice easy laps up and down the pool near our residence.

Susan Pettitt in the match against Fiji. Pic: Matt Roberts/Getty Images
Susan Pettitt in the match against Fiji. Pic: Matt Roberts/Getty Images

I got in and had a little race with her at one stage - which she thought was funny.

It reminded me of my childhood a bit. I looked up to Shane Gould when I was young, as she could swim all the events. Growing up in Melbourne, I used to swim in my backyard pool and pretend I was racing Shane Gould.

I thought this was my chance. I'd do an individual medley. The girls thought it was hilarious, but I promise I can actually swim - so I did.

Bronte was on the side of the pool, she was watching. I wanted to show her that I could do an IM - only in a 10 metre pool though.

I asked, 'which stroke is first?'

"Backstroke."

Australia was prepared for the short turnaround from South Africa to Fiji. Pic: Chris Hyde/Getty Images
Australia was prepared for the short turnaround from South Africa to Fiji. Pic: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Off I went. I had to be careful as I didn't have a roof to look at. I kept on looking, making sure I didn't hit the end of the pool or run into anything.

Next up, breaststroke, and I must admit I did that well, with a good glide.

I got to the end and had to start my butterfly. I turned around to Bronte, CBass and Rav and said 'I'm going to have to do a dolphin butterfly, because I won't last 'til then end.'

I did my butterfly and the last stroke I dived down to the bottom of the pool, pushed up, I got there.

I finished up with my signature event, which is my freestyle, and finished strongly.

Bronte was very impressed, she said 'I can't even do an IM.' So … there you go.

As I was returning to the village on the tram that night, my partner rang me. He was very excited about the swimming results and told me that Bronte had won gold in the 100 metre freestyle, beating Cate.

Bronte Campbell claims gold. Pic: AP
Bronte Campbell claims gold. Pic: AP

There's been a bit of talk lately about how Bronte's always had to live a little bit in Cate's shadow - the sister versus sister thing. We know that they don't operate like that, but from a public perception it can be.

And Bronte won the gold medal! I just thought it was terrific, and hilarious after what we'd been through in the morning.

No sibling rivalry here. Pic: AAP
No sibling rivalry here. Pic: AAP

I've been a swimming nut for so many years. To see the Australian team doing so well, I'm absolutely rapt.

My Bronte encounter in the pool highlights what is so good about being around the Australian team, everyone's really supportive and we all want everyone else to do really well.

The fact that we were having a nice relaxed time with our netballers and Bronte, treating her like one of us, like more than an elite athlete.

I can't wait to see more success across the board.



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