As a 16-year-old Cate Campbell, who was born in Malawi, returned from Beijing 2008 with two bronze medals. She teamed with Libby Trickett (Lenton), Alice Mills and Melanie Schlanger to win a bronze medal in the 4 x 100 metres relay and then finished third behind Britta Steffen, of Germany, and the 41-year-old Dara Torres, from the United States, in the 50 metres freestyle. Her bronze medal in the 50m was just ahead of the more highly fancied Lenton, the world record holder in the event. The silver medallist, Torres, won her first Olympic medal at Los Angeles 1984, eight years before Campbell was born. In the 100 metres freestyle, Campbell was the tenth fastest after the semi-finals and hence did not progress through to the final.
Campbell qualified for her second Olympic Games having won the National title in the 50m freestyle, ahead of her younger sister Bronte, and finished 2nd in the 100m freestyle.
She opened her London 2012 campaign in spectacular fashion as she lined up alongside Alicia Coutts, Brittany Elmslie and Melanie Schlanger to win gold in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay on the opening night of competition. The Australians beat home the Dutch and American teams on their way to setting a new Olympic record and Campbell’s first Olympic title.
A bronze medallist in the 50m freestyle at the 2009 World Championships in Rome, Campbell could only manage 7th in her semi-final missing out on the chance to race for another Olympic medal.
Despite having qualified for the 100m freestyle Campbell did not contest the event in London due to illness.