Kate Campbell says Australian swimmers can shoot under pressure

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Australia coach Rohan Taylor admitted it was a “big call”, which could deny the team a coveted individual gold. But it bolstered McKeown’s confidence in her brains to make the right call as she is now stepping into her favorite backstroke events.

“We feel the struggle from varied heat with the 100m final the next day could be challenging for her, so we made that decision, and her coach made that decision with her,” Taylor said.

“it’s a [a huge call]…but you have a freshman coming to the Olympics. It’s a big call and they’ve been through it for months. I respect the decision, and they will focus on backstrokes and the medley relay.

“You have the 100m heat in the back and then half the 100m in the back, then that night you have the 200m IM heat, then the next morning it’s the 100m final back. That night it’s going to be a late night with the possible temperatures [lack of] Sleeping 100 meters before noon, it’s a tight event.

“They want to make sure it’s sharp or at its best. I don’t think any of the other 100m runners will swim that night, they’ll come back to rest in the village.”

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Talk quickly turned to the legendary American-Australian showdown in the pool, although this has been a bit of a gradual affair lately. This time around, backed by a particularly deep and talented women’s team and strong relays, the difference on the medals table should be less clear.

But as always, that comes with an “if,” which Taylor knows all too well. Americans rarely attend games and get stuck in their lines. He said Australians must be strong from the start if they are to thrive outside of world-leading athletes like McKeown, Ariarne Titmus, Emma McKeon and Elijah Winnington.

Americans have proven, historically, that they perform at the Olympics. This is the standard we are striving for. “We haven’t done our best and the reason we changed our experiments three years ago is to try to find a way to compete,” Taylor said.

“On paper it looks like we[close the gap]. But it’s about who has the competitive IQ to perform under pressure. The American system educates competitive athletes. When they show up, they know how to race.”

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