Campbell targets Paris after record-breaking season opener

By January 09, 2024
Kito Campbell Kito Campbell contributed

Individually and in relay teams, Kito Campbell displayed dominant form in his season opening competition and with time on his side, the future is bright.

In fact, if all goes according to plan for Campbell this season, then an Olympic Games appearance in Paris later this year, could very well be on the cards, especially if he continues his rapid improvements in the breaststroke events, under the guidance of legendary Jamaican swimmer Sion Brinn.

“I'm aiming for the Olympics this year, but I think I'm going to take that one step at a time. I am in collegiate season now, so I just want to focus on being good for college, and then after that, focus on being good for the Olympics,” Campbell told SportsMax.TV.

The former Calabar High standout made the declaration after he smashed his own 50-yard breaststroke record during a season-opening meet, which pitted his Indian River State College against Rochester Institute of Technology and Grand Valley State University.

Campbell, currently in his freshman year, proved too good for rivals, as he stopped the clock in 25.14 seconds. He was almost a second ahead of runner-up Andrew Goh (26.04) of Grand Valley.

That time bettered Campbell’s 25.19 set at the 2022 PST 32nd Speedo Winter Championships, while representing Azura Florida Aquatics. He continues lead the National Junior College Athletic Association rankings in the event.

The 20-year-old completed the sprint breaststroke double when he took the 100-yard event as well. Much like he did in the shorter event, Campbell went out hard and left the field in his wake, as he clocked splits of 25.93 and 29.39 on his way to a final time of 55.32.

Campbell, swimming the breaststroke leg, which he completed in 25.09, earlier assisted his Indian River team to victory in the 200-yard medley relay in 1:30.47. He also placed fifth in the 100-yard individual medley in a new personal best time of 53.19, lowering his previous best of 53.60.

Having firmly established himself as the best Jamaican breaststroke in the yard and Olympic-sized pools, Campbell is now hoping to build on his current momentum, as his coach, Brinn has put structures and strategies in place that have aligned him on the path to success.

“Things have been going well for me so far, I've dropped times in all of my main events for this year and training has been going well. I feel like I'm improving constantly since I've arrived at Indian River, and coach Sean has been really taking me under his wing. I wouldn't say I've improved in strength drastically, but the technical aspect of turns, underwater and dives are just right,” Campbell explained.

Campbell, who has represented Jamaica at numerous championships, to include the Pan American (PanAm) Games, Commonwealth Games and the FINA World Championships, knows that swimming can be a game of centimetres and milliseconds.  As such, he admitted that he doesn’t boast too much in the expectations department.

“The details are what I have been fine tuning over the past couple months, and it's been getting better and better. I no longer go into seasons with expectations anymore, I just I race on the day, give of my best and the results will come,” he reasoned.

“But like I said, things are coming together, and I feel really good. I feel like I'm in a really good spot right now and I think the rest of this collegiate season is going to be great for me,” Campbell added.

Still, the former Kaizen Swim Club representative is well aware that it will not all be smooth sailing in the years ahead, as he pushes for longevity in his career, but the hope is to draw on experience to bring his Olympic dream to fruition.

“After the collegiate season, I have a few long course competitions that I'll have to contest, but I'm going to take that one step at a time. I usually don't like to mix too many things in my head, because I don’t want to be focusing on long course times when I'm only swimming short course. So right now, it's collegiate season and after that long course, and then we aim for the Olympics,” Campbell declared.

 

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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