Cate Campbell - Comeback from post-viral fatigue with Chinese herbs to go to the London Olympics
Published: March 22, 2012 Last Updated: February 09, 2022
The jury is still out on the comebacks of Ian Thorpe and Libby Trickett but not for another refugee from the sporting wilderness, Cate Campbell.
Cate Campbell in the brew for London Olympics comeback
By: Nicole Jeffery
From: The Australian - 20 March 20012
After losing two years of her international career to ill-health, 19-year-old Campbell re-emerged at the recent World Cup event in Tokyo to claim the sprint double and shoot back to No 2 in the world rankings in the 50m and 100m freestyle (short course).
Campbell was just 16 when she became the youngest individual medallist in the pool at the Beijing Olympics, where she won the bronze medal in the 50m freestyle and was proclaimed a certain future champion. She repeated that feat at the 2009 world titles and seemed destined for higher honours but was stopped in her tracks by a bout of glandular fever before last year's national trials.
Campbell just scraped into the national team but was forced to withdraw two months later after she was unable to restart training due to post-viral fatigue.
For a year, it was one step forward, one backwards for the speedster. Each time she resumed full training, her health failed her.
She managed to break out of that pattern only in August when she turned to a Chinese herbalist as a last resort.
For 18 months, doctors had said there was no magic formula to cure her, and it would take time and patience. But the herbalist gave her a tea that tasted "so bad, you are almost gagging" that appears to have helped.
"I swear he goes out into some enchanted forest, collecting bark and twigs to make it," Campbell said. "I have to have two cups a day, which is not a great way to start and finish the day, but it feels like it's working." Campbell also overcame the frustration of her situation.
"I have come to terms with everything," she said. "I think I needed time to let the remedies work, time for me to accept what had happened and have patience."
She was finally able to train consistently through September-October, and the transformation was startling when she arrived at the Singapore World Cup event two weeks ago. She qualified fastest for the 50m freestyle final but her lack of racing told in the final when she was overhauled by Sweden's Therese Alshammar.
Campbell then claimed minor medals in the 50m and 100m freestyle in Beijing, behind Wollongong's new sprint sensation Emma McKeon, before roaring to life in Tokyo, setting PBs of 23.93sec in the 50m freestyle and 52.31sec in the 100m freestyle.
Campbell is finally on track for the London Olympics, and with her, Australia's female relay ambitions. The women shape as real contenders, with the return of Campbell and Trickett and the rise of McKeon to join Alicia Coutts and Emily Seebohm.
Chinese herbal medicine Brisbane
Cate has been a long-term patient of Greg Bantick, acupuncturist and TCM practitioner at the Health and Healing Wellness Centre. We are very proud to see her doing so well and wish her all the best at the Olympic games this year.