Australian Champs, Day 1 Finals: Kaylee McKeown Scorches to 200IM Australian Record In 2:06.99 And A Certain Starter For Paris

australian-championships-Kaylee McKeown action 2 Delly Carr
ABREAST OF THE TIMES: Kaylee McKeown declares she's a sure starter for the 200IM in Paris. Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

Kaylee McKeown has tonight sent a firm message to the world: “count me in”  for the 200m individual medley at this year’s Olympic Games in Paris after clocking 2:06.99 to break the National record on the opening night of the 2024 Australian Championships on the Gold Coast.

The 22-year-old from Griffith University became the fifth fastest performer in history – and only the fifth swimmer to break 2:07.00

Including the Australian record of 2:07.03 set by Beijing Olympic gold medallist Stephanie Rice way back in 2008.

When asked by two-time Olympian Meagan Nay on pool deck after the race whether she was a definite starter (providing she qualifies at the Trials)  and McKeown was quick to say:”Absolutely!…I love the challenge..I love to test myself.”

And of course the challenge will be that on Day Six in Paris, McKeown will have the heats of the 200m IM in the morning heats session, scheduled for 11 am and then that night the defence of her 200m backstroke final at 8:39pm and the 200IM semi-finals at 9.34 pm.

“I’m lucky to have Michael Bohl as my coach and (of course) he coached Stephanie as well…so I reckon he will send Steph a message and let her know,” said McKeown.

Later in the night Olympic silver medallist Ariarne Titmus (St Peters Western, QLD, Coach Dean Boxall) 8:17.80 (58:62; 2:00.25; 4:05.90) led home a world class 800m, freestyle ahead of Paris olympic hopeful and World Short Course champion Lani Pallister (Griffith University, QLD,Coach Michael Bohl) 8:19.38 (59.33; 2:01.64; 4:07.06) with one of New Zealand’s latest Olympic qualifiers Eve Thomas 8:25.71 (59.78; 2:02.66; 4:09.86) third.

Titmus praising the depth of Australia’s sprint and middle distance freestylers,. saying: “How good are the girls swimming in the sprints and the middle distance…they are just killing it…we can’t wait for July,” said the dual Olympic champion.

“Even though I would have looked to have gone faster, to have Lani and myself under 8:20 in pretty good…”

While the women’s 50m breaststroke Australian was certainly a race for the ages, with the “Super Mum” award going to 37-year-old two-time Beijing and London Olympian Sally Hunter (nee Foster) a mother of three, winning the bronze medal – in a remarkable achievement – and a staggering 22 years older than silver medallist Sienna Toohey!

Here is the tale of  the tape….

Gold: Jenna Strauch Age 27 (Miami, QLD) 31.04 – 2020 Tokyo Olympian/Short list for Paris

Silver: Sienna Toohey Age 15 (Albury, NSW) 31.34 – Prospective LA 2028 Olympian

Bronze: Sally Hunter/nee Foster Age 37 (Central Aquatic, SA) 31.77 (31.59 in her heat) – 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympian

Sally….take a bow!

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1 month ago

I thought Sally had just turned 39. Still, the oldest woman to ever medal at an Aussie Nationals.

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