Teenager breaks 3 Aussie records in 3 daysKaylee McKeown at the 2021 Sydney Open. Image: Delly Carr


Australian swimmer Kaylee McKeown has remarkably broken three national records in three days, dominating the Sydney Open over the weekend.

McKeown has proven why she’s considered one of Australia’s gold medal hopefuls for this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo with three blistering swims at Sydney Olympic Park.

On Friday, the 19-year-old bettered her own Australian record for the 200m backstroke, registering a time of 2:04.31 to shave 0.19 seconds off her previous best.

Her new time ranks as the fourth-fastest in the event’s history.

Less than 24 hours later, McKeown broke the Australian record for the 100m backstroke with a time of 57.63 — just 0.06 seconds shy of the world record set by America’s Regan Smith in 2019.

She lowered her personal best by three-tenths of a second and narrowly missed becoming the only Australian to currently hold an individual long-course world record.

The Queenslander then set another Australian record on Sunday to complete the dream trifecta, recording a blistering time of 27.16 in the 50m backstroke.

Incredibly, that performance came 30 minutes after she won gold in the 200m individual medley final, one of swimming’s most exhausting events.

McKeown’s time was 0.18 seconds short of the 50m backstroke world record, set by China’s Liu Xiang at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.

“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 her 100m event on Saturday.

“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.”

Last November, McKeown set a new world record for the 200m backstroke at the Australian national short-course championships in Brisbane.

The most recent Australian to set an individual long-course swimming world record was Matt Wilson, who equalled the fastest time for the 200m breaststroke at the 2019 World Championships.

McKeown’s coach Chris Mooney said on Saturday: “We’re not going to read our press. We’re going to keep a lid on it … we have had those conversations.

“She executed it really well. It’s new territory for us too. We’re definitely learning on the run. We really feel as though we haven’t got the job done yet.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to coach some good athletes in the past but she’s just not scared of pain. She punches through pain barriers like no one I’ve ever seen in my life.”

READ MORE: Brisbane schoolboy smashes 30-year record

Australia’s Olympic trials are in Adelaide next month, where McKeown is expected to qualify for the national team in the 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke and 200m individual medley — she is currently ranked No. 1 in the world in all three events.

All-Time Women’s Long Course 100m Backstroke Performances

Regan Smith (USA) – 57.57

Kaylee McKeown (AUS) – 57.63

Kaylee McKeown (AUS) – 57.93

Kathleen Baker (USA) – 58.00 (2018)

Kylie Masse (CAN) – 58.10 (2017)

Kaylee McKeown (AUS) – 58.11 (2020)

Gemma Spofforth (GBR) – 58.12 (2009)

Kaylee McKeown (AUS) – 58.14 (2021)

Kylie Masse (CAN) – 58.16 (2019)

Regan Smith USA) – 58.18 (2020)



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