Sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell are among three sets of siblings competing in the Australian swim team at the Commonwealth Games. Picture: Getty Images
Sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell are among three sets of siblings competing in the Australian swim team at the Commonwealth Games. Picture: Getty Images

Family ties run deep in the pool

THEY say blood is thicker than water - and the Australian swimming team has plenty of both to bind it into one big family before the Commonwealth Games.

The 70-member team - made up of 49 Olympic program and 21 para swimmers - has three sets of siblings and a father-daughter combination set to take up the battle in the pool from the first day of competition on Thursday.

Sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell and Taylor and Kaylee McKeown join David and Emma McKeon and Michael and Georgia Bohl in a family affair in the pool.

While it's not the first time any of them have been on a team together, all say being able to share the experience of competing at a home Games with a family member makes it special.

Kaylee McKeown, who at 16 is one of the youngest members of the swim team, said having her sister on the team helped calm her nerves when she made her senior international debut at last year's world championships.

Kaylee and Taylor McKeown.
Kaylee and Taylor McKeown. John McCutcheon

And with the pair competing in different events, they are able to support each other and are among the most vocal fans in the stadium.

"Lucky for Kaylee and I we do different events because it would be a bit of a fight if we did the same," Taylor said, confirming the McKeown supporter group would swell to about 30 family members at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre this week.

"But I get up and support her in her races and vice versa.

"We really thrive off each other's energy when we race."

Cate and Bronte Campbell do swim the same events, swapping places at the top of the podium for the freestyle sprints at various national and international events.

Cate returns from a post-Olympic break on the Gold Coast, while Bronte will take a sabbatical after these Games and both are thrilled to be wearing the green and gold together again.

"If you can't win yourself, there's only one other person in the world you would want to be beaten by," Cate said, referring to her sister.

 

David and Emma McKeon. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen
David and Emma McKeon. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen

While the McKeowns and Campbells are writing their own history, the McKeons and Bohls are continuing a Games legacy that stretches back to the last time Queensland hosted the Commonwealth Games.

David and Emma McKeon replicated the efforts of their parents and uncle by making a Commonwealth Games team in 2014, when they swam in Glasgow.

And four years on, they write another chapter, swimming for Australia on the Gold Coast, about 70km south of where parents Ron and Susie, and uncle Rob Woodhouse represented Brisbane in 1982.

"It's kind of strange when you think about it like that," Emma said of closing the circle from Brisbane. "But it will be cool to have them all here in the stands watching and we can share it with them again."

"The family thing is something that's always in the back of our minds, it's pretty special and I think it will be one of the highlights of both of our careers to share a second Commonwealth Games and family thing again with mum and dad and uncle Rob having gone to Brisbane in 1982," David said.

Georgia Bohl and her father, Michael, are part of the Australian swim team at the Gold Coast. Picture: Picture: David Kelly
Georgia Bohl and her father, Michael, are part of the Australian swim team at the Gold Coast. Picture: Picture: David Kelly

Michael Bohl's name is synonymous with swim coaching but back in 1982 he was a sandy-haired youngster set to compete at his first Commonwealth Games in Brisbane.

Thirty-six years later, his daughter Georgia joins him on the team for the Gold Coast Games, as she did at the Rio Olympics.

"It makes me feel quite special to be able to share the experience with dad," Georgia said.

"Obviously it's nice to be able to be on the team with him, but it's nice to know that he (swam) at the Commonwealth Games as well because it just makes me feel quite comfortable and at ease with everything."



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