Campbell set to inspire at swim titles

Cate Campbell says she's ready to fire for Australia's relay team at the world swimming titles.
Cate Campbell says she's ready to fire for Australia's relay team at the world swimming titles.

If Cate Campbell did not already have the United States on high alert, they would officially be nervous after the Australian's bold call ahead of the world swimming titles in South Korea.

After missing the 2017 titles due to a post-Rio break, Campbell is clearly primed to make up for lost time at the eight-day world championships in Gwangju starting on Sunday in Australia's dominant 4x100m freestyle relay.

Asked why she had been so successful in Australia's relay outfit, she was clear.

"I have the best changeover in the world, quite simply. Lucky it is for Australia," Campbell said.

It's hard to argue after looking at their results.

Since Campbell burst onto the scene in 2008, she has emerged as an unstoppable relay team anchor.

Australia's 4x100m women's outfit have missed the podium once at a major international meet since 2003.

That 16-year span includes six wins from 11 major finals including the last two Olympic gold medals.

They are also the reigning world record holders.

But they had their dominance snapped by the US in 2017 in Campbell's absence.

Campbell could only look on in 2017 during her 12 month break when the US stole Australia's thunder by claiming relay gold at Budapest.

However, Campbell believed confidence gained from the 2017 Pan Pacs - where she claimed five gold following a 2017 sabbatical -would help her be the difference for Australia.

"Pan Pacs was one of those dream meets that everyone has once or twice in a career, where everything goes right," Campbell said.

"You always try to emulate it but you are never quite sure why it was that perfect.

"(But) it definitely gave me a lot of confidence."

Australia is in need of inspiration after their underwhelming 2017 world titles campaign where they finished with one gold and a distant eighth on the standings with 10 medals.

The US topped the medal count with 38 including 18 gold.

However the Americans are suddenly looking over their shoulder with Campbell back to her best.

Indeed US women's head coach Greg Meehan almost tried to play down their opening night relay chances.

"I thought we had a great relay swim in 2017 but obviously the Aussies are incredibly strong and we need to be on our game," he said.

"But we recognise it is still part of the journey to next summer (Tokyo Olympics)."

Australia's other opening night medal hopes are Ariarne Titmus (400m freestyle), Jack McLoughlin and Olympic champ Mack Horton (400m freestyle) and the Australian men's 4x100m freestyle team.

Australian Associated Press