Sister act II: Bronte upstages Cate to claim gold

BRONTE Campbell gatecrashed the redemption party of sister Cate on Monday night in a stunning upset with a patched-up body powered by a brave winner's heart and a finishing flurry.

There was an audible gasp from the full house at the Commonwealth Games pool on the Gold Coast when the Campbell family script was torn up and rewritten in a frantic, spellbinding final 15m of the 100m freestyle.

Sister Act II was just as enthralling to watch.

A 20-month rollercoaster of tears, brutal perspective and rejuvenation looked set to hit the heights for Cate Campbell when she led halfway down the closing lap.

She always had Canada's out-of-synch Olympic champion Penny Oleksiak covered and outswam six-medal Canadian star Taylor Ruck but there was an upset brewing in the adjoining lane from the sister who so often plays the supporting role.

"It's never easy being the second Campbell and she's No. 1 now," a noble Cate said post-race.

"There's still a No. 1 next to a Campbell."

The pair shared the joy atop the gold medal step on the dais together with Cate celebrating her sister's Games gold.

Bronte gobbled up Cate's lead over the final 15-20m to post a superb Games record time of 52.27 sec that ranks her fourth fastest of all time for the distance.

Cate Campbell congratulates sister Bronte following her upset win in the women’s 100 metres freestyle. Picture: Hannah Peters/Getty Images
Cate Campbell congratulates sister Bronte following her upset win in the women’s 100 metres freestyle. Picture: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Cate (52.69) was relegated to silver in her 10th race of a busy meet that has netted her three gold medals, but not the one she most cherished.

For younger sister Bronte, it was a triumph to match her 2015 world title because she admitted post-race to being "held together by stickytape and physio".

She will immediately head into a break to rest and repair shoulder and hip aches so she can rebuild her body for a shot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Bronte Campbell looks almost sheepish as she celebrates victory in the Women's 100m Freestyle . Picture: Hannah Peters/Getty Images
Bronte Campbell looks almost sheepish as she celebrates victory in the Women's 100m Freestyle . Picture: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

The final veil of doubt for Cate Campbell and hundreds of thousands holding their breath in the stands on the Gold Coast or watching on TV now still exists on the biggest of stages.

Olympic great-turned-commentator Ian Thorpe had put the acid test in ideal perspective pre-race: "She'll be thinking about Rio ... this is another layer of pressure."

Maybe it was although the uplifting Campbell comeback has hit a speed bump rather than the brick wall of the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Cate Campbell (left) hugs gold medallist Bronte  after the medal ceremony. Picture: AFP/Manan Vatsyayana
Cate Campbell (left) hugs gold medallist Bronte after the medal ceremony. Picture: AFP/Manan Vatsyayana

The final gulp before the starter's gun still inhaled pressure and she had to respond to the expectation that three carefree gold medal swims in the pool had created earlier in the meet.

To become more of a swimmer, Campbell had to learn to become less of a swimmer. She's well on the way to better just with a hiccup.

Meanwhile Emma McKeon's international flirtation with the 200m butterfly is likely to have come to an end after she finished with bronze in possibly her only major international swim in the event.

McKeon jettisoned the 100m freestyle to pick up an event that will clash with her pet 200m freestyle on most Olympic and world championship programs and said she was "proud of myself for just doing it".

Silver medalist Cate Campbell, gold medalist Bronte Campbell and bronze medalist Taylor Ruck of Canada. Picture: Clive Rose/Getty Images
Silver medalist Cate Campbell, gold medalist Bronte Campbell and bronze medalist Taylor Ruck of Canada. Picture: Clive Rose/Getty Images

The bright spot for Australia was silver to 18-year-old debutant Laura Taylor, who finished almost two seconds behind Welsh winner Alys Thomas just days after having root canal work done on a dodgy tooth.

Matthew Levy ensured the gold rush continued for Australia though, winning the S7 50m freestyle and breaking through for the first major individual win of his career.



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