Kaylee McKeown Sets World Short Course Record of 1:58.94 In 200m Backstroke

BREAKER BREAKER: Australia's latest world record holder Kaylee McKeown. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Kaylee McKeown Sets World Short Course Record of 1:58.94 In 200m Backstroke

Budding Queensland swim star Kaylee McKeown has today smashed the world record for 200m backstroke at the 2020 Hancock Prospecting Virtual National Short Course event in Brisbane – dedicating the swim to her late father Sholty, who she lost in August.

Kaylee WR Thumbs Up

THIS ONE’S FOR YOU DAD:  Kaylee McKeown took time out for this exclusive shot for Swimming World just minutes after her world record, dedicating her swim to her late father Sholto. Photo Courtesy: Hanson Media.

The 19-year-old from USC Spartans on the Sunshine Coast, clocked a time of 1:58.94 – taking 0.29secs off the 2014 time set by Hungarian superstar Katinka Hosszu at the 2014 World Short Course Championships in Doha.

McKeown, who re-wrote the Australian record books in the long course 100 and 200m backstroke a fortnight ago was back in the Brisbane Aquatic Centre this morning in the first open event of the two-day Brisbane meet and wasted no time setting the pace.

World Record Progression:

  • 1:58.94, Kaylee McKeown, AUS, 2020
  • 1:59.23, Katinka Hosszu, HUN, 2014
  • 2:00.03, Missy Franklin, USA, 2011
  • 2:00.18, Shiho Sakai, JPN, 2009
  • 2:00.91, Kirsty Coventry, ZIM, 2008
  • 2:03.24, Reiko Nakamura, JPN, 2008
  • 2:03.62, Natalie Coughlin, USA, 2001
  • 2:04.44, Sarah Price, GBR, 2001
  • 2:05.83, Clementine Stoney, AUS, 2001
  • 2:06.09, He Cihong, CHN, 1993
  • 2:07.11, Anna Simcic, NZL, 1992

And the records continued to tumble with Cotton Tree’s triple Junior World champion Lani Pallister lowering her own Australian record in the 800m freestyle in a time of 8:10.12 – taking 1.59secs of her previous mark set at the same pool at the Queensland SC Championships min September.

The 18-year-old who is trained by her mother, 1988 Olympian Janelle Elford, who swam her way into the all-time top 20, was joined in the podium positions by current Olympic team member for the 10km marathon Kareena Lee (Noosa) and Phoebe Hines (USC Spartans) who swam 8:14.13 and 8:16.32 respectively.

But it was he Chris Mooney-trained McKeown, with Dolphins team mate and world short course record holder for the 100m, Minna Atherton in the lane next to her,who  split a sizzling 58.59 to set up her world record after 100m before “dropping the hammer” to come back in 59.35.

Her 50m splits were 28.40; 58.59; 1:29.00 – out in 13.60 for the first 25m – averaging 15s for the next six laps before retuning him on the fin al 25m in 14.77.

Twenty-year-old Atherton (Moreton Bay),. also her fellow 2019 Gwangju World Championship backstroke medallist, finished second in the Brisbane meet in 2:03.64 with Jessica Unicomb (Griffith University) third in 2:07.07.

“Short course is not something I do very often so I was excited to see what I could do after all my training in this preparation and it was great to have Minna – the world record holder in the 100m next to me in a strong field,” said Kaylee McKeown, who is dedicating her swims to her late father Sholty, who passed away in August.

“When I touched the wall I (actually) didn’t realise I had broken the record.

“Coming into the race I just wanted to focus on my skills and my turns – they are my weak point that we’ve been trying to improve on…so there is still room for improvement to go in that area..it’s a good stepping point but there is still lots to improve on.

“When I touched the wall I didn’t realise at first and even when Minna congratulated me in the pool I thought she was just being super nice to me..it wasn’t until I walked over and saw Chris (Mooney) my coach and my team mates they said:’You’ve just broken the world record!..’ and I said ‘What!’

“I honestly didn’t know… it feels good and definitely different in a year where I have had my ups and downs and it’s the hardest year that I’ve gone through with my father passed away in August and he has been a motivation behind me so I just want to give it my best while I can.

“I honestly had no idea what the world record was before hand because I don’t focus on short course too much.”

When told that Katinka Hosszu had held the previous world record, McKeown said: “Well..they definitely call Katinka the Iron Lady for a reason – I certainly look up to her..she’s a great athlete.”

Chris Mooney whistle

HAPPY CHAPPY: USC Spartans Head Coach Chris Mooney encourages Kaylee McKeown during a training session. He knows there’s a lot of improvement to come. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

The ever conservative coach Mooney, while delighted with his young charge’s swim, continues to keep a lid on things, saying: “”Kaylee is definitely ‘an athlete’ who ever gets too far ahead of her self who is very compliant;  it’s just a matter of coming up with a plan, sticking to that plan and getting her in the lineup; I know she will take care of the rest.

“We are happy but it’s not even December yet, so there’s a long way to go…we’ll celebrate that one as we did the long course swims but we’ll be doing our very best to keep a lid on it.

“And to break Hosszu’s world mark is certainly something – she’s one of the greats  – so to be in that company is certainly special – and she is still a heck of an athlete – it’s an awesome event the 200m backstroke and I’m just glad we are in the mix.

“We’ve been testing well, training well….and a big part of our program going forward is definitely improving our skills, our turns and breakouts – so it’s nice to get a solid result there.

“We entered the race looking to work on our skills, we are very process driven and I k now that is becoming a little cliche and you focus son a skill or a process and the result takes care of itself.

“It was an early morning swim and I hadn’t given that much thought to be honest – we just came here to race and to be with our fellow athletes who they haven’t had a chance to be around – we really are a family you know and to be able to turn up and get a couple of hit outs is probably a bonus for us.”

Kaylee and Alex B 2

WORLD RECORD PAIR: Kaylee McKeown congratulated by Alex Baumann (swimming for Canada) who set the first WR in the Brisbane Aquatic Centre at Chandler in 1982 at the Brisbane Commonwealth Games. Photo Courtesy: Hanson Media.

Standing poolside and quick to congratulate McKeown was Swimming Australia High Performance Strategist Alex Baumann, who actually set the first world record in the Brisbane Pool for Canada in the 200m Individual medley at the 1982 Commonwealth Games.

“A fantastic swim and the way she swam it as well – out in 58 and back in 59 – a really good back end…really pleasing to see,” said Baumann, who welcomed McKeown to the worlds record club.

“That was a long time ago…wow 38 years ago…it’s great to see..anytime someone breaks a worlds record it’s something special…given the circumstances through this pandemic ..it’s great to see our swimmers competing and training hasn’t been a problem and we’ve been quite lucky with that but we need to give them these competitive opportunities, so that’s a positive.

“Chris and Kaylee have done a great job….and what I like here is you have to stand up and swim in the morning in these timed finals….and that’s perfect…it’s what they are going to have to do at the Olympics,”

In the women’s 100m freestyle, prolific Australian Olympic and World championship performer Emma McKeon (Griffith University) was only just outside her personal best to claim the “Virtual win” in the women’s 100m freestyle in 51.17 from Marion SA’s Madison Wilson – swimming a personal best time of 51.74 and current world record holder Knox Pymble’s Cate Campbell (51.79), who both raced out of Sydney’s Olympic Park Aquatic Centre on Friday night.

Meanwhile Matt Temple (Nunawading) who clocked 1:52.25 on Thursday night in Melbourne has taken out the men’s 200m butterfly, followed closely by his Nunawading teammate Bowen Gough, as Nicholas Brown claimed third place following his swim in Perth on Friday.

Full results of all raced in the first session from all five states can be found here

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Jac Stirrat
Jac Stirrat
3 years ago

While they might not be as high profile, surely we can also acknowledge the MC WRs as well that were achieved – they were equally enthralling to watch on Brisbane.

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