Kaylee McKeown Gives Olympic Backstroke Contenders Something to Ponder at Aussie Champs

Kaylee-McKeown

Kaylee McKeown Gives Olympic Backstroke Contenders Something to Ponder at Aussie Champs

If the baton hadn’t already been passed, Kaylee McKeown has officially assumed the title of Australian Backstroke Queen.

Over the past year, the 19-year-old McKeown has routinely produced some of the best performances in the world in the backstroke events, and she can now call herself an Australian champion. Trailing veteran Emily Seebohm by a slim margin at the turn, McKeown pulled away over the last 50 meters to win the 100-meter backstroke at the Australian Championships on the Gold Coast. McKeown stopped the clock in 58.60, with Seebohm taking runnerup honors in 59.22.

By securing her first Aussie title, McKeown denied Seebohm’s chase for her 12th crown and further established herself as a leading medal contender at the Tokyo Games. McKeown owns the Australian record in the 100 backstroke at 57.93 and is widely considered the premier threat to American teenager Regan Smith, the world-record holder at 57.57.

Seebohm covered the first lap in 28.74, with McKeown just behind in 28.88. Over the last 50 meters, McKeown split 29.72 to generate a comfortable margin over Seebohm, who split 30.48 for the last lap.

By cracking the 59-second barrier, McKeown added to a strong day of backstroke around the world. At the British Olympic Trials, Kathleen Dawson went 58.24 to become the European record-holder in a textile suit.

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