Bronte Campbell: Life in the fast lane

One half of the Campbell swimming sisters, Bronte, is freestyling her way to sporting success.

Written by Bronte Campbell
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 28:  Cate Campbell (R) of Australia celebrates winning the gold medal with silver medallist Bronte Campbell of Australia after the Women's 100m Freestyle Final at Tollcross International Swimming Centre during day five of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games on July 28, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

In the lead up to Glasgow, we spoke to Aussie swim star and Uncle Toby’s Ambassador Bronte Campbell, who headed over to the Commonwealth Games with her sister Cate. At the time she was most looking forward to the 4x100 m freestyle relay on day one – which the team smashed, breaking the world record in the process. With her mindset on Rio in 2016, Bronte tells us a bit about life at the top.

Why do swimmers have to train so early?

Usually we have to train so early so we can fit two training sessions in one day. We also have to be finished training by the time school starts (if there’s anyone in the squad who’s still in school), or in time for uni classes during the day.

What are a couple of different training sessions you regularly do?

One of my least favourite sessions, which, unfortunately, our coach seems to love, involves repeat pace 300s interspersed with sprint 50s. It’s not very fun, but I’m sure it’s good for me.

What are three words that describe you in and out of the pool?

In the pool: competitive, determined and a bit of a perfectionist. Outside the pool I’m a bit more relaxed, fun loving and, sometimes, a tiny bit nerdy.

What do you learn from, and teach to, your sister Cate?

I have learnt many things from watching my big sister, how to be professional and how to cope with pressure being among the most important. I don’t know that I ever teach Cate very much; she’s pretty well polished as an athlete. But I have taught her how to make a pretty great apple pie.

Training is finished and the rest of the day is yours – how do you spend it?

Typically I’d spend the day catching up on uni work or if it’s a Saturday, I might see a movie or go shopping with friends.

Apart from physical talent – what does it take to the best?

To be the best it takes determination, belief and perseverance, because striving to be the best isn’t easy and very few people make it all the way. It also helps to have a great network of support around you, whether it’s your friends, family or your coach.

What have you learnt about nutrition during your time swimming?

Nutrition is very important for swimming. The most important thing I’ve discovered is to keep a balanced diet, everything in moderation and just eating good, healthy food most of the time, but allowing yourself some treats once in a while.

Who would you love to race against?

There are so many brilliant Australian swimmers; in particular I’d love to have had the opportunity to race Dawn Fraser and Jodie Henry.

What tips do you have for swimmers looking to swim faster for longer?

Swimming faster is all about the tiny 1% that no one else bothers to do: kicking off the walls, eating the right food, stretching, ice baths, focusing on technique, counting your strokes and leaving enough time for recovery between sessions. The better you get at the 1%, coupled with a lot of hard work, the faster you’ll be.

Does your physical talent extend to the land?

On land I don’t do so well. I’m not very good at running, nor do I have very good ball skills. Usually on the weekend I’m too tired to do much, but I do enjoy a good game of touch footy when I get the chance (which is not often). Even though I’m not very good, it’s still fun.

Written by Bronte Campbell

Bronte Campbell made her Olympic debut in 2012. She won bronze in the 50m freestyle in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and was a member of the world record breaking 4 x 100 metre freestyle relay team, along with her sister Cate.

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