For Chalmers and other top-liners such as Campbell, the nationals is the first serious hit-out in programs designed to peak in July at the world championships, then again next year at the Tokyo Olympics.
So for Campbell, winning in Adelaide was a case of no pain, no gain in the big picture.
“Enjoy is the wrong word,” she said. “It was a very solid swim and I think my coach will enjoy it a little more than I’m enjoying it right now. It’s really difficult to say where exactly I’m at, and everyone is at different stages as well.”
Campbell won in 53.36 seconds with Emma McKeon (53.50) second and Shayna Jack (53.66) third. Campbell’s sister Bronte Campbell was fifth (54.36).
In the men’s 100m backstroke, Mitch Larkin also won another national championship – and he’s not sure how many Australian titles he now has, describing his latest triumph as “about pride”.
“I spoke to (coach) Dean (Boxall) and said ‘I don’t want to lose this one’,” Larkin said. “For this time of the year, it’s really good … the aerobic system is ticking along nicely. I’m not too puffed at the end of that, which is nice.”
The nationals aren’t doubling as selection trials for the world titles in July in South Korea – that will happen in Brisbane in June.
“The next couple of weeks we’re going to find some speed and, touchwood, by trials in a couple of months we’ll be swimming a lot faster and a lot easier,” Larkin added.