Australia’s Swimming “Super Macs” Emma McKeon and Kaylee McKeown Sizzle In Sydney Open Stunner

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MAC ATTACK: Emma McKeon all smiles after today's !00m freestyle victory over Cate Campbell at the Sydney Open and Uni Nationals Meet in Sydney.Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (SOPAC)

Australia’s “Super Macs” of the pool Emma McKeon and Kaylee McKeown have turned up the heat in Sydney today clocking two world class swims at the Sydney Open, as the countdown to Tokyo 2021 hots up.

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MACS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT: Emma McKeon’s 52.29 ranks her No 1 in world in the 100m freestyle. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (SOPAC).

McKeon, at 26 and the star of the Australian women’s team in Rio, turned on the after burners on the second 50m in the highly anticipated 100m freestyle to clock a personal best time and new NSW All-Comers record of 52.29 (bettering Cate Campbell’s 2018 time of 52.37) and improving her standing inside the top six 100m freestylers in history and another victory over Campbell, who she beat in last month’s Australian Championships on the Gold Coast.

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WELL BLOW ME DOWN: Kaylee McKeown after her No 1 world ranked time. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (SOPAC)

Nineteen-year-old McKeown (USC Spartans) – heading towards her first Olympics – smashed her own Commonwealth and Australian records and set a new NSW All-Comers mark, clocking 2:04.31 in the 200m backstroke – the number one time in the world over the last 18 months as Australian swimmers prepare for Japan’s morning finals program.

McKeown’s arrival over the last two years sets up a classic Olympic showdown with US world record holder Regan Smith, with both girls now setting their immediate sights on their respective Selection Trials next month.

Smith owns the two fastest times in history – her 2019 world record of 2:03.35 and the previous world record of 2:03.69, followed by 2012 Olympic champion Missy Franklin’s previous seven-year world record of 2:04.06 and now McKeown’s 2:04.31 and her previous best of 2:04.49.

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MACS EFFORT: Kaylee McKeown never leaves anything in the pool. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (SOPAC).

The Australian Trials are set down for Adelaide’s SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre from June 12-17 where she will take on triple Olympian Emily Seebohm, second today in 2:07.06 and her Griffith University team mate Jess Unicomb third today in 2:13.53 as well as World championship silver medallist and world short course record holder over 100m backstroke Minna Atherton (Moreton Bay).McKeown said she and coach Chris Mooney had a plan to “really take it out hard last night (in the heats)” acting as if it was the finals.

“I planned to come back this morning and see what we could do so I’m pretty impressed that we were able back up some pretty good swims,” said McKeown.

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BACK SPLASH: Kaylee McKeown, up close courtesy of the ‘photo ninja’ Delly Carr (SOPAC)

“I just trusted myself a bit more in the first 100m today to get out a little faster which did hurt a lot in the back-end but I did a really good solid time, so I’m happy with that.

”It’s always our plan to put as much pressure on as we can at these meets to get the most race practice we can.

“It’s nothing compared to Trials and I’m expecting a lot more nerves there.”

And it was 26-year-old National champion McKeon and the Dolphins MVP certainly set the pace earlier in the day with her eye-catching world best 100m freestyle time for 2021.

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FAST FRAME: Emma McKeon in action at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre today. Photo Courtesy:Delly Carr (SOPAC).

McKeon has now rocketed into serious contention, not only for one of two Australian places in the 100m freestyle for Tokyo but as a major player for an Olympic medal – in what will be another jam-packed program that could potentially see her in seven or even eight events.

On times, only Swedish world record holder Sarah Sjostrom (51.71), Cate Campbell (52.03), US and German Olympic champions Simone Manuel (52.04) and Britta Steffen (52.07) and Bronte Campbell (52.27) have ever swum faster.

Cate Campbell (53.27) finished second to McKeon again today with Marion SA’s ever-present Madi Wilson (53.78) third, WA’s Brianna Throssell (54.90) fourth and Bronte Campbell (54.59) fifth.

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STOOD SND DELIVERED: Emma McKeon proudly models the Speedo Olympic Fastskin racing suit for Tokyo. Photo Courtesy: Speedo Australia.

And McKeon’s time over-took Cate Campbell’s previous 2021 world best time of 52.43, set in the heats of the Australian Championships.

McKeon will again meet the Campbell girls, Wilson, Throssell and the next generation sprinters, St Peters Western duo Mollie O’Callaghan and Meg Harris at the Adelaide Trials in what will not only be a mouth watering showdown for those two individual spots but also Australia’s world-beating 4x100m freestyle relay squad for Tokyo.

The Michael Bohl-coached McKeon said she was “always happy with a PB.”

“It gives me confidence racing the mornings and I’ve just got a lot stronger and done a lot of work in the gym. That’s where I think I’ve made big gains,” said McKeon.

“And every time I get to race Cate and be up against the best in the world it adds to my confidence and it’s just good race practice.

“I’ve always trained for the 100m. My training hasn’t changed at all because of the relay and that’s always such a strong event for Australia.”

 

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