Cate first came to prominence at age 13 in 2006, when she claimed gold in both the 50m and 100m Freestyle at the Australian Age Championships. But it was in 2007, at her first international competitions, that Cate showed her true potential as a world-class contender. Campbell, at 15 years of age, out swam the best in the world at the Japan Open, after already winning two gold and one bronze medal at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney. Her sizzling time of 24.48 seconds elevated her to the fourth fastest woman in history and put the world on notice for Beijing.
Competing in her first Olympic Games in 2008 in Beijing, Cate showed tremendous maturity winning a bronze medal in the 50m Freestyle, a tough event that punishes the smallest of mistakes. Cate continued her success at the Games by winning bronze in the 4x100m Freestyle relay. Cate added to her long list of success at the 2012 London Olympic Games, her second at only 20 years of age. She swam her way to a spot on the Australian Team by qualifying for the 50m and 100m Freestyle events after finishing 1st and 2nd respectively. Cate won gold in the 4 x 100m Freestyle event, along with Melanie Schlanger, Alicia Coutts and Brittany Elmslie. Cate was joined by her sister, Bronte Campbell, to become Australia’s first sibling Olympians in 40 years. Cate was hit with a cruel stomach bug on day 2 of the Olympics, which robbed her of the chance to swim at her full capability in the 50m Freestyle, and forced her to withdraw from the 100m Freestyle completely.
Cate was back in full health for the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, proving to the world that she is a world class athlete when she claimed the100m Freestyle title. She continued her dominance in the pool into 2014, claiming 3 Commonwealth Games Gold Medals in the 100m Freestyle, 4 x 100m Freestyle and 4 x 100m Medley Relays, as well as a Silver Medal in the 50m Freestyle. The 2015 World Championships in Russia were another successful meet for Cate, finishing on the podium with sister Bronte in the 100m Freestyle in one of the highlights of the week. Cate also anchored the Women’s 4 x 100m Freestyle team to victory.
On July 2, 2016 Cate broke the 100m Freestyle World Record at a Grand Prix event in Brisbane, one month out from the Rio Olympic Games. The record stood from the now banned ‘Supersuit’ era of 1999, making Cate’s achievement that much more significant. Cate went on to bring home a Gold and a Silver medal from the Rio Olympics. On the first night of competition she swam the final leg of the dominant 4x100m Freestyle relay team and they hit the wall first and broke their own World Record in the process. On the final night of competition Cate anchored the 4x100m Medley Relay team in a competitive field and managed to take the team from 5th place to 2nd where they claimed the Silver medal. Cate also made the finals of the 100m and 50m Freestyle after swimming some competitive times in the heats and semi’s. She went on to place 6th and 5th place in two lightning fast finals.