Campbell sheds Rio demons at Pan Pacs

Laine Clark
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SWIMMING PAN PACS 2018

Cate Campbell (left) has claimed gold for Australia in the 100m freestyle at the Pan Pacs in Tokyo

Cate Campbell has exorcised her Rio demons.

She says she'll no longer be haunted by the "little nightmares" that lingered from 2016 after clocking an astonishing 52.03 seconds - the second-fastest time in history - to win the 100m freestyle final at the Pan Pacs in Tokyo.

On a golden Friday night for Australia, Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers soon added the men's 100m freestyle crown before Australia's Ariarne Titmus, Emma McKeon, Mikkayla Sheridan and Maddie Groves claimed the women's 4x200m freestyle relay in a championship record.

At the halfway point of the four-day meet, Australia have four gold, six silver and two bronze to leapfrog Japan into second but still trail world No.1 the United States (eight gold, five silver, seven bronze).

In a huge boost for Tokyo 2020, Campbell clocked a personal best to finish more than half a second faster than the woman who dethroned her at Rio - Olympic and world champion Simone Manuel of the United States.

An emotional Campbell said the win finally made up for her shock sixth placing in the Rio 100m final, which prompted her to take a 12-month break to recover.

"I can put that one to bed. All the little nightmares that come creeping in when you are lying awake at night stewing over past performances (are gone)," Campbell said.

Campbell almost gave away the sport dealing with the fallout over her Rio result, which she described as "the biggest choke in Olympic history".

Asked if the Pan Pacs result had exorcised her demons, Campbell said: "Yeah, it shows I can stand up and perform when it counts.

"I know I can live with whatever the outcome."

Chalmers soon had another gold for Australia thanks to yet another trademark fast finish.

The 20-year-old powered home from last on the turn to seal victory ahead of fellow Australian Jack Cartwright, who tied for second with world champion Caeleb Dressel of the United States.

Chalmers clocked 48.00 seconds ahead of Cartwright, who was second alongside heavy favourite Dressel (48.22).

In the 4x200m women's relay, Titmus led off in world-record time before Groves held off Olympic and world champion Katie Ledecky of the US in the final leg as Australia sealed gold in a national record of seven minutes, 44.12 seconds.

It broke the previous national mark set in 2008.

Groves held out a fast-finishing Ledecky by 0.25 of a second.

Australia's Chalmers, Cartwright, Clyde Lewis and Alex Graham were pipped for 4x200m relay gold by the US.