Classy Campbell eyes 100m freestyle payback
RIO redemption is still in Cate Campbell's sights at this week's Pan Pacs swimming titles in Tokyo despite Olympic champion Penny Oleksiak's withdrawal.
Campbell's hopes of turning the tables on her shock Rio conqueror Oleksiak in the 100m freestyle in Japan were dashed after the Canadian teenager pulled out for a much-needed break.
However, ex-world champion Campbell will still get a chance for some 100m payback at the four-day Pan Pacs starting on Thursday.
The 100m freestyle field in Japan still boasts the woman Oleksiak dead heated with for Rio Olympic gold as hot favourite Campbell faded to sixth - American Simone Manuel.
Australian head coach Jacco Verhaeren believed Campbell, 26, would still need to overcome a strong 100m Pan Pacs field if she wanted to earn some post-Rio retribution.
Manuel sounded her intentions by claiming the 50m-100m freestyle double at the Pan Pacs trials, setting US Open records in both. Her 50m US Open record bettered Campbell's old mark set back in 2008.
Verhaeren said the presence of Manuel, Canadian young gun Taylor Ruck and fellow Australian Shayna Jack would ensure ex-world record holder Campbell wouldn't have it all her own way.
"Penny is the Olympic champion so that is always unfortunate," Verhaeren said of Oleksiak's withdrawal.
"But seeing the level of the 100m freestyle in the US now and at our own level with Shayna Jack and Taylor Ruck will be there, it will be an exciting 100m nevertheless."
Campbell will spearhead a 33-strong Dolphins squad with Olympic champions Kyle Chalmers and Mack Horton at the Pan Pacs, which boasts non-European nations including undisputed world No.1 United States.
Campbell has returned with a vengeance after taking a 12 month post-Rio sabbatical from the pool.
She made a triumphant comeback at April's Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, claiming three gold.
Campbell will need to fire if Australia are to threaten a 58-strong American team led by distance queen Katie Ledecky and sprint king Caeleb Dressel.
World champion Dressel has entered six individual events in Japan but all eyes will be on his mooted 100m freestyle duel with Rio champ Chalmers.
Meanwhile, Verhaeren has played down concerns for Emma McKeon after she ditched the 200m freestyle from her Pan Pacs schedule following a lingering shoulder issue.
"She is working her way back in terms of technique and strength," he said of McKeon who will still contest three individual events plus relays in Japan.
"There are no concerns for her whatsoever."
The Dolphins will travel to Tokyo after completing a week-long camp in Nagaoka, Japan.
World champion Emily Seebohm will join the Dolphins in Tokyo on Monday after staying in Brisbane to train following a relationship breakdown and an injury to her beloved pet horse Platinum.