Doubts linger for Campbell before Pan Pacs

Laine Clark
Cate Campbell admits she still has some doubts after her self-proclaimed Olympic choke of 2018

Niggling doubts still trouble Cate Campbell in the wake of her Rio Olympic heartache.

But the ex-world champion hopes to use this week's Pan Pacs in Tokyo to show she has finally exorcised her 2016 demons.

Campbell lines up for her biggest meet since the hot favourite missed the Rio 100m freestyle podium altogether, prompting the former world record holder to take 2017 off to recover.

Campbell, 26, contemplated quitting the sport during her sabbatical but returned with a vengeance at April's Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, claiming three gold.

She admitted there were still some lingering doubts before trying to earn some Rio payback against Olympic 100m champion Simone Manuel of the United States at the four-day Pan Pacs starting on Thursday.

However Campbell said she had come a long way since being reduced to tears pool-side at Rio after what she claimed was the "biggest choke in Olympic history".

"You always do have those niggling doubts in the back of your mind," Campbell said before the 100m freestyle starts on Friday.

"But I have in the past stood up and performed really well on the biggest stage and there's no reason why I can't again.

"I've been racing against the world's best and been amongst the world's best for close to 10 years now.

"I have a lot to be proud of and that's something I have learned over the past two years is to be proud of those achievements because not many people can say that."

Campbell won't face Penny Oleksiak who tied for Rio Olympic 100m gold after the Canadian withdrew for a much needed rest.

But Campbell will still be kept honest by Manuel.

The American is in prime form after completing the freestyle sprint double at the recent trials, breaking US Open records as the fastest on American soil in both.

Campbell's 2008 US Open 50m record was among the record marks shattered.

But Campbell said no matter the Pan Pacs outcome she would be in a good place ahead of Tokyo 2020.

"It's a very strange experience to feel like you're ostracised - it's one of our greatest fears," Campbell said of her Rio fallout.

"But I have such a supportive environment ...that I feel like whatever happens, I feel like I'll be welcomed in with open arms.

"That has been a really liberating experience over the past two years."