Moments after confirming she is the world’s fastest woman in water Australia’s Cate Campbell revealed she is willing to risk losing that title in 2015 if it means overcoming a shoulder complaint by the Rio Olympics.
Campbell already had rivals shaking in their boots after capping a stunning Pan Pacific championships on the Gold Coast by clinching 50m freestyle gold on Sunday night in the fastest time in a textile suit (23.96 seconds).
But her foes no doubt were left shaking their heads in astonishment after Campbell revealed she had achieved her remarkable success while nursing a chronic shoulder injury.
Campbell said she would soon go under the knife to remove a bone spur that was pinching a nerve on her right shoulder, ensuring she would miss the rest of the year – and perhaps beyond.
Campbell said she was prepared to miss the chance to defend her 100m freestyle title at the 2015 world titles in Kazan, Russia starting in late July if it meant she was fully fit by Rio.
Campbell’s resume boasts world, Pan Pacs and Commonwealth Games 100m titles.
Now the lanky 22-year-old wants to complete her collection with Olympic gold in Brazil – no matter what it takes.
“I’m actually getting shoulder surgery next week,” said Campbell after collecting 50m gold before sealing Australia’s stunning 4x100m medley gold win over Olympic champions the United States on Sunday night.
“If the Olympics were next year I’d hold off definitely, but I can’t struggle through another two years with a bad shoulder.
“If I’m not back to full capacity by next year it’s not a major drama, Rio is really the end goal.”
Campbell had never before mentioned a shoulder injury – and few could tell by her stunning results.
But Campbell admitted she had endured “chronic pain” for months upon completing her Pan Pacs campaign that helped Australia to an impressive final medal tally of 10 gold, eight silver and eight bronze.
They trailed only a 60-strong world No.1 United States (14 gold, 12 silver, 14 bronze) boasting Olympic great Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky.
“I’ve been keeping it under wraps because I’m not one to complain or make excuses but now that I’m finished you probably won’t be seeing me for the rest of the year,” Campbell said.
“It hasn’t hugely affected my training but it’s something I need to fix two years out from Rio.
“It is getting worse – I’m having troubles with necks and backs and those sorts of things.
“It needed to be done and now is the time to do it.”