“This is like six competitions in seven weeks and each of them have been in a different country and time zone. I’m starting to feel it a little bit but at the same time, I’m really enjoying the challenge of racing in different conditions and different pools and just having to stand up and perform,” Campbell said.
“My body is in a place where I’m able to manage things, and I knew I wouldn’t be getting a long break. I decided to push through and get as many gun starts as I could under my belt. We don’t race as often as the Europeans and Americans. At the ripe old age of 27, I thought it was possible and it was something new.”
Consistency isn’t the sexiest word in sport but it’s exactly what Campbell has been delivering in her pet 100m freestyle, where she claimed gold at this year’s FINA World Championships. Campbell has now broken the 53-second barrier a record 44 times, including 10 times this year.
“That’s really what I was here for and that was consistency, regardless of the conditions, or whether I’m jetlagged or feeling 100 per cent. None of that matters. I really wanted to execute good races under any kind of conditions and I’m really pleased I’ve been able to do that.
“I feel like I’ve pushed myself in different ways, which is good because swimming can be quite a monotonous sport. For me, I’m able to make changes and attempt new things, it means there is room to move and improvements to make.
“That keeps me motivated. If I didn’t think I could get any better, that’s not a good place to be in.”
It will all be about the Olympics for Campbell but the kind of racing she has been undertaking on her world tour can only help her keep the nerves under check when she steps onto the pool deck in Tokyo next year.
The sport is in the midst of mass change sparked by the ISL, which has shaken up the FINA status quo and allowed swimmers to earn money that previously didn’t exist in the sport until this year.
Campbell was a leading voice in ensuring swimmers were treated fairly by FINA, which at one point had threatened them with bans if they swam in the rival league, and feels like the sport has been left in better hands for future athletes.
“I’m lucky that I can earn a living off swimming but, for the majority of the athletes on ISL teams, it’s life-changing really. They can see a future in the sport for themselves and it’s nice to be part of the first wave of that.