19-year-old swimmer Kaylee McKeown breaks three Australian records in three days

19-year-old swimmer Kaylee McKeown breaks three Australian records in three days

Kaylee McKeown

Australian swimmer and Olympic hopeful Kaylee McKeown has broken three national records in just three days, with a dominant performance at the Sydney Open over the weekend in the 200m, 100m and 50m backstroke.

On Friday, the teenager outperformed her own record for the 200m backstroke, with a time of 2:04.31, cutting 0.19 seconds off her best.

On Saturday, in an impressive swim, McKeown broke the Australian record for the 100m backstroke, clocking a time of 57.63 – just 0.06 seconds short of the world record. It was the second fastest 100m backstroke swim of all-time, falling just short of Regan Smith’s record set in 2019. McKeown narrowly missed out on becoming the only Australian to hold an individual long-course world record.

On Sunday, she set another Australian record with a 27.16 second 50m backstroke swim. She did this just half an hour after winning gold in the 200m individual medley final. McKeown’s time was 0.18 seconds short of 50m backstroke world record, set by China’s Liu Xiang in 2018.

The trifecta of record-breaking swims has confirmed McKeown’s position as one of Australia’s gold medal hopefuls ahead of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

“I wasn’t expecting to come out and do that swim this morning and I’ve got no complaints about it. I’m pretty happy,” McKeown said after the 100m swim. “I looked (up) and I was like, ‘Oh surely not. Oh s**t’. Those were literally the words that came to my mind.”

“It’s a good surprise … pretty stoked with it, not going to lie. I wasn’t expecting to come out and do that swim this morning.

“I don’t necessarily think about (records). I rock up to the meet and do the best I can.

“It’s a pretty outstanding world record to be chasing, and there are a lot of girls out there who are still chasing those times.”

McKeown’s impressive run at the Sydney Open comes after she set a new world record last November, when she claimed the 200m backstroke at the National short course swimming championships in Brisbane. At that event, she clocked a time of 1 minute 58.94, surpassing a 6-year record of 1:59.23 set by Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu in 2014.

She is one of the youngest members of the Dolphins team, having made her debut at age 15 after qualifying for the World Championships in 2017.

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