Olympic hopeful Kaylee McKeown breaks 200m backstroke short course world record

Olympic hopeful Kaylee McKeown breaks 200m backstroke short course world record

Kaylee McKeown

Australian swimmer Kaylee McKeown set a new world record over the weekend, claiming the 200m backstroke at the Australian national short course swimming championships in Brisbane.

The 19-year-old Olympic hopeful 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.

“Short course is something we don’t get to do very often so I was excited to see what I could put up after some solid training this year,” McKeown said after the swim.

“I headed over to my teammates and my coach and they said ‘you just got a world record’ and I was like, ‘what?’. I didn’t actually know until a few minutes later.

“It feels good and definitely different in a year where I have had my ups and downs. It’s the hardest year that I’ve gone through with my father passing away in August. He has been a motivation behind me so I just want to give it my best while I can.”

The short course championships were held virtually this year due to the pandemic, with swimmers competing at different venues around Australia.

In long course, McKeown has previously won gold in the 50m backstroke, silver in the 100m and bronze in the 200m at the Youth Olympic Games, held in 2018 in Buenos Aires. She had more success last year, claiming the senior world championships silvers in the 200m backstroke and 4x100m medley, in South Korea.

Earlier this month, McKeown broke Australian records in the long course 100m and 200m backstroke in Brisbane.

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.

With the Olympics postponed until next year in Tokyo, McKeown has her sights firmly set on representing Australia at the event.

“In Australia, we have some of the top women in the world racing in my events, so it’s tough,” she told the Olympic website last month.

“But being able to go to the Olympic Games is what I’ve been dreaming of.”

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