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Australian sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell, one the world record holder and the other the world champion, will race each other in the Olympic women’s 100m freestyle final after qualifying in the semi-finals on 10 August.
World record holder Cate was fastest in claiming her place in the final to be held on 12 August, breaking the Olympic record of 52.78 secs that she had set in the heats with a time of 52.71 secs.
Younger sister Bronte made it through by finishing fifth in the final eight, while Olympic champion Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands qualified with the seventh best time.
Canada’s Penelope Oleksiak, who won a 100m butterfly silver on 7 August and a 4x100m freestyle relay bronze on the same day, was second fastest in 52.72 secs, with Simone Manuel of the United States third in 53.11 secs.
After posting that new Olympic record, Cate said: “I want to make the most of it now that I have made this final. It’s every girl’s dream to make it to an Olympic final and I have gone that next step.”
At 24, Cate is two years older than her sister, and has already recorded great achievements in 2016. In a 100m freestyle event in Brisbane last month she set a new world record mark of 52.06 secs, which was 0.01 secs faster than the previous world’s best time set by Germany’s Britta Steffen in 2009.
Bronte won the 100m freestyle title at the World Championships in Russia last year and is now looking to add Olympic gold to her collection of medals. "It has always been my goal to make it through to an individual Olympic final and today I achieved that goal," she said after the semi-finals. "You always like to think you may have something in reserve and I think the occasion will help me find that little bit extra in the final."
The sisters already have won a gold each at Rio 2016 after powering Australia to victory in the 4x100m freestyle relay. The Australians clocked a new world record time of 3 mins 30.65 secs, beating the old mark that they set in Glasgow in 2014.
In the relay the pair showed how well they can work together as they helped Australia come from behind to win. The Americans had led at the halfway point but Bronte overhauled Dana Vollmer on the third leg and handed over a lead that her sister never looked like surrendering to Katie Ledecky.
On this occasion, however, teamwork will be put aside as the sisters go head-to-head in search of individual Olympic glory.