She may be a long way from Australia’s team camp in China but Bronte Campbell is set to take her first step toward a return with a comeback at the Queensland swimming titles.
As the Dolphins contest this week’s world short course titles in Hangzhou, Campbell appears poised to make a splash in her first major event since taking an injury-enforced break after the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Campbell, 24, has entered in the 50m and 100m freestyle events at the week-long Queensland championships at Brisbane Aquatic Centre, starting on Saturday.
The former dual world champion took a sabbatical from the pool in a bid to overcome niggling shoulder, back and hip dramas that had plagued her for years.
She committed to the break before April’s Commonwealth Games but seemed reluctant after rediscovering her mojo on the Gold Coast, upsetting her sister Cate in the 100m freestyle in a Games record and collecting three gold medals.
However, Campbell was finally convinced to enjoy time away and get herself fit for a Tokyo 2020 tilt after witnessing her sister Cate’s own remarkable rejuvenation.
Cate Campbell took 12 months off after a disastrous 2016 Olympics and returned with a vengeance, exorcising her Rio demons by winning the 50m-100m freestyle double and five gold overall at August’s Pan Pacs in Tokyo.
Bronte Campbell looks set to test the waters at the Queensland titles before setting her sights on her biggest meet before the Tokyo Olympics, the 2019 world swimming championships in Gwangju, South Korea.
Campbell will headline an impressive Queensland championships line-up before relocating to Sydney with her sister and their coach Simon Cusack in the new year.
The Campbell sisters confirmed in September that they would leave Brisbane with Cusack, who has been poached by the NSW Institute of Sport.
Other notable Dolphins in action at the Queensland titles will be Emma McKeon, Shayna Jack, Kiah Melverton, David Morgan, Kaylee McKeown, Jack McLoughlin, Elijah Winnington, Clyde Lewis and Jake Packard.
Curiously, middle-distance queen Ariarne Titmus has also nominated for the Queensland championships despite being part of Australia’s short course team in China.
Titmus is considered an outside chance of flying home from the world short course titles which conclude on Sunday and contesting the Queensland championships which wrap up on December 21.