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NEWS FEATURE Swimming Campbell sisters prepare to take on the world at Rio By Derek Wilson, dpa

Europe
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The Australian swimming team is one of the strongest in the pool in Rio de Janeiro and their gold charge is led by the Campbell sisters.

Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - That the Olympic gold medal in the women‘s 100-metre freestyle could be fought out between the world record holder and world champion is not especially surprising - more so that the duel is between two members of the same family.

Bronte Campbell, 22, upstaged her elder sister Cate, 24, at the world championships in Kazan, Russia, last year, to become world champion and also added the 50m title to her role of honour.

But Cate, world champion herself in 2013, showed that she does not intend to give her little sister a free ride to gold in the Rio pool but setting a 100m world record of 52.06 seconds in July.

Some sibling rivalry would appear natural but instead both sisters concentrate on their own swimming when facing off and are happy to develop an ‘us against the world‘ towards others.

"It‘s very different to Serena and Venus," Bronte said in reference to the Williams sisters in tennis. "We‘re not playing against each other on a tennis court.

"I‘m not really racing against Cate, I‘m racing myself. It‘s very different. We‘ve always enjoyed racing together against the world."

Bronte played down the suggestion she had a mixed reaction to Cate‘s world record and that pride, rather than fear of competition, was her response.

"I was just proud and a bit astounded as we didn‘t think it was going to happen," she said. "I got a phone call about it and I thought my dad was joking."

It is actually the second time the sisters have been Olympians together after 2012 but on this occasion they are both going for gold.

"It‘s incredibly special to be competing in the Olympics together," Cate said. "In 2012 we both knew we‘d achieved something great just to qualify for the team."

Cate was part of the 4x100m team which won gold in 2012 and that squad now contains Bronte as well, giving the sisters the chance to truly compete alongside each other.

"I‘m almost more excited to race with Bronte in 4x100, that‘ll be a really special race," Cate said. I hope to execute a great race and hope Bronte does too."

If all goes well, the pair could have their first medals from the relay on August 6, the opening night of the swimming, before the individual finals on August 11 (100m) and August 13 (50m).

Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands is the Olympic champion in both while Sweden‘s Sarah Sjostrom, though stronger in the butterfly, is also a contender.

Other Australian medal hopefuls in Rio include Mitch Larkin, Emily Seebom, world champions in backstroke over 100m and 200m, and Cameron McEvoy, 2015 world silver medalist.

"Myself, Mitch and Bronte are a very similar age, we‘ve been racing at same meets since we were seven, eight, nine years old," McEvoy said of the squad. "We‘re a team who‘s grown up with the sport."

Larkin added: "There‘s a lot of respect within the team .. we all know how hard we‘ve worked to be here."

But while Australia are heavily tipped to do well in the pool, head coach Jacco Verhaeren warned they could take nothing for granted.

"It‘s definitely a special group ... but this is the Olympics, everyone starts at zero again. It doesn‘t matter how good you are, you have to do it on day.

"We had great staging camp, no issues, no injuries ... all arrived in great shape."

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