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Hours After Cate Campbell Calling US Swimming Team Losers, 4X Olympic Champion Tries to Restore Faith With a Positive Message

Published 08/04/2023, 8:57 AM EDT

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A new rivalry emerged during World Aquatics Championships this year. The American versus the Australian swimming teams were out for each other’s blood. It was a race against time, and against each other, to see who would come out as the best. In the end, Australia won the most gold medals, and America won the most medals. However, a huge controversy arose after an iffy broadcast showed America on top with the most medals. Why was this an issue?

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Usually, World Aquatics, or international competitions in general, are sorted by the gold medal count instead of the total medal count. However, when the swimming championships were broadcasted in America, the table was sorted according to the total number of medals, which put America on top. This prompted Australian swimming champion Cate Campbell and American swimming champion Lilly King to speak out. And now, another athlete has joined the mix with her own views.

The greatest rivalry in the world of swimming presently continues


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Kaylee McKeown, the Australian who was named top female swimmer of the world championships also broke her silence on the situation. Surprisingly, her stand was a little different from her Australian comrade Cate Campbell. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the 4-time Olympic medalist Kaylee McKeown said, “Cate’s entitled to her opinion, but I just want the U.S. to know that she’s not speaking on behalf of the whole Australian team.”

McKeown further pointed out that Campbell was not a part of the Australian swimming team that qualified for Japan. Therefore, for her to make such comments was not received with open arms by the rest of her teammates. Revealing her own viewpoint, she said, “…we weren’t too impressed about it that she had her two cents to put in. Like I said, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.” Cate Campbell appeared on a TV show, blasting the American swimming team for being “sore losers” after the broadcasting incident. Campbell also candidly expressed her disdain about the rituals that the US swimming team exhibited to cheer on their athletes. This prompted Lilly King to reply back with a scathing remark.


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This notion expressed by Cate Campbell was also not acceptable to McKeown, who managed to grab three wins in backstroke events during the championships. According to Swimming World, the swimming champion was none too happy with the way Cate Campbell handled things. Kaylee further said, “I don’t necessarily agree with it. I don’t like being called sore losers on our behalf, so I can imagine how they would feel having her said that.” It seems like the Australian swimming team is divided when it comes to the ongoing rivalry, and some members, such as Kaylee, have started extending the olive branch. But how did it all begin?


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Tracing the spark that lit the fire

The Australian swimming team bagged the most gold medals. The team also boasted the swimmer with the most individual golds and the female swimmer of the world championships. Australia bagged 25 medals, 13 out of them gold. On the other hand, the U.S. swimming team bagged 38 total medals, which was the highest in the meet. Their gold tally came up to 7. The U.S. swimming team won the overall team award that is presented by World Aquatics due to their higher overall medal count.


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In the end, the table which showed America on top, instead of showing Australia on top with the 13 gold medals, is what angered the team and the fans. Cate Campbell needed up bashing the US competitors on live TV. Lilly King clapped back with her own response, issuing a challenge to the Australians for the Paris Olympics. With Kaylee McKeown waving the white flag, we have to wait and watch if the USA will accept it.

Watch This Story: America’s Swimming Favourite Caeleb Dressel Embarks on a New Journey With a Hilarious 8-Word Joke

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Written by:

Apoorva Behl


One take at a time

Apoorva Behl is a sports writer for EssentiallySports. With a range that would make Bruce Lee proud, Apoorva’s writing embodies the philosophy of "Be Like Water," flowing seamlessly between a diverse range of sports and sensitive angles. Her articles are known to resonate with her audience, earning her a common spot on the Editor’s Pick list.
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Edited by:

Brandon Gabriel