US swimmers on notice says Aussie Campbell

Laine Clark
Cate Campbell has had a gold-filled Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Tokyo

The national coach may not be convinced and results suggested otherwise but Cate Campbell is adamant Australia have struck a major blow to world No.1 United States' confidence at the Pan Pacs ahead of Tokyo 2020.

Campbell on Sunday grabbed her fifth gold medal of the Pan Pacs by anchoring the 4x100m medley relay team to victory on the final night of the four-day meet, ensuring Australia's women swept all three relays in Tokyo.

Campbell reeled in American Simone Manuel in the final leg as Australia - also featuring Emily Seebohm, Emma McKeon and Jessica Hansen - clocked a championship record three minutes, 52.74 seconds.

Campbell began the night with gold No.4, dominating the 50m freestyle also in a championship record (23.81 seconds) to fall 0.14 short of the world mark while Australia's Emma McKeon claimed bronze.

Ex-world champion Campbell boosted Australia's final Pan Pacs tally to eight gold, 12 silver and seven bronze - well behind world No.1 US who dominated with 18 gold, 13 silver and 12 bronze.

Yet Campbell believed the all-conquering Americans were now looking over their shoulders ahead of Tokyo 2020.

"I would say we have definitely put them on notice," she said.

"They came into this with their chests all puffed out, and we have kind of taken a little wind out of their sails which has been really nice.

"There are a few less choruses of 'USA' every time they walk past which is always really nice."

Campbell has clearly regained her confidence at her first meet against the Americans since her shock sixth placing in the Rio 100m final that prompted her to take 2017 off.

"I think that this team has performed way beyond expectations and we've really stuck it to people," she said.

But Australian head coach Jacco Verhaeren was wary of results at a Pan Pacs meet that doubled as the Americans' 2019 world titles trials.

"I am definitely not here to comment on the USA results because I do think they are a competition within a competition," he said.

"No doubt that has had a big impact on their team dynamics. Where they used to come together as a team they are now racing each other for a spot on the world championships team."

However, Verhaeren believed Australia were "on the right track" thanks to standout performances by Campbell, Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers, rising star Ariarne Titmus and their women's relay teams in Tokyo.

At this week's Pan Pacs, Chalmers defeated world champion Caeleb Dressel to claim 100m freestyle gold and 17-year-old Titmus kept Olympic champion Katie Ledecky honest to win 800m freestyle silver.

Meanwhile, Australia's Kiah Melverton took silver after world and Olympic champion Ledecky cruised to 1,500m gold.

In the men's 200m breaststroke final, Zac Stubblety-Cook won silver and Australian teammate Matthew Wilson bronze.

Jack McLoughlin claimed 800m freestyle bronze, with Mack Horton a surprise fifth.

The Australian men's medley team of Mitch Larkin, Jake Packard, Grant Irvine and Kyle Chalmers won bronze.