The eldest of five Campbell children, Cate was born in Malawi and was taught to swim in Lake Malawi by her mother Jenny – a former synchronised swimmer.
When the family moved to Australia in 2001, nine year-old Cate and her sister Bronte joined the local Indooroopilly Swimming Club in Brisbane and fell in love with competitive swimming.
Cate’s dominance in the pool began at a young age, rising through the ranks to win two gold medals as a 13 year-old at the Australian Age Championships to put herself squarely on the national team radar as one to watch. By the age of 16, she had broken the Australian & Commonwealth 50m Freestyle records and earned selection at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where she displayed remarkable maturity and poise on the biggest stage in world sport to win Bronze medals in the 50m Freestyle and 4 x 100m Freestyle events.
Cate backed that breakthrough performance up with another Bronze at the 2009 World Championships as she set her sights on the 2012 London Olympics.