Kaylee McKeown Closes South Australia States With Sizzling 2:05.51 in 200 Back

KAYLEE STARTS '21 IN STYLE: Kaylee McKeown has started 2021 in sizzling form. Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Kaylee McKeown Closes South Australia States With Sizzling 2:05.51 in 200 Back

Aussie swim star Kaylee McKeown has saved her best till last – producing the swim of the meet with a sizzling time of 2:05.51 to win the 200m backstroke on the third and final night of the South Australian State Swimming Championships in Adelaide tonight.

The 19-year-old from USC Spartans broke her own South Australian All-Comers record in what was the 11th fastest time in history – and her third fastest time ever – as the girl from the Queensland Sunshine Coast mounts an impressive resume of swims en-route to this year’s Tokyo Olympic Trials.

W 200bk medallists copy Minna Atherton (L), Kaylee McKeown (C) Emily Seebohm (R)

TRIPLE TREAT: Aussie backstrokers Minna Atherton, Kaylee McKeown and Emily Seebohm. Photo Courtesy: Anthony Burns APP

McKeown has started out 2021 in faster fashion than she did in 2020 – taking 0.32secs off her time set at this SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre Complex in Adelaide 12 months ago.

The same pool she will return to from June 12-17  to race the Australian Olympic Trials against premier opposition in triple Olympian Emily Seebohm and fellow 2019 Fina World Championship silver medallist Minna Atherton.

Three stars of the sport, battling it out for four spots over two events in the 100 and 200m backstroke.

Never have Australia’s backstroke stocks been so strong and never have the stakes been so high – two of the rising stars of the sport in McKeown and Atherton up against arguably Australia’s greatest ever backstroker in Seebohm – a three-time world champion and Olympic silver medallist.

McKeown has shown in her short but spectacular career that she was born to race and she has produced times that suggest she has the talent to race the best in the world on sport’s biggest stage.

Tonight’s 200m backstroke, McKeown was out in 30.06, turning at the 100m in 1:02.34 (32.28) and at the 150 in 1:34.61 (32.27) before “dropping the hammer” for a final 50m split of  30.90 – splitting 1:03.17 for her backend 100m.

McKeown has now clocked 2:04.49 (November 2020 in Brisbane); 2:05.16 (December 2020 in Brisbane), 2:05.51 (January 2021 in Adelaide) and 2:05.84 (January 2020 in Adelaide) – four of the 16 fastest times in history.

Sitting ahead of her is fellow teen machine, US world record holder and 2019 world champion Regan Smith (2:03.35 and 2:03.69 both at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju) where McKeown was second.

The Queensland teenager will return home to her Sunshine Coast training hub under the watchful, steady hand of coach Chris Mooney with five gold and a silver medal, from six events – three backstroke and three breaststroke, the silver won tonight in the 50m breaststroke behind two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist and London Olympian Leiston Pickett.

Now the breaststroke is whole other story – wins in the 100m (1:09.44) and the 200m (2:27.21pb) before the 50m time of 31.91 – as she continues to mould an IM assault that could well see her re-write those record books as well – knowing full well she has already clocked 200 and 400IM times of 2:08.23 and 4:32.73 respectively.

In Australia only 2008 Olympic champion Stephanie Rice (200 and 400IM) and five-time Olympic medallist Alicia Coutts (200IM) have swum faster – but their standings you would suggest are somewhat on shaky ground.

We’ll all be watching this space.

In other highlights:

Brittany Castelluzzo (Tea Tree Gully, SA) set a new South Australian record with a time of 1:00.22 in the women’s 100m butterfly – taking 0.02 off the previous record set in 2016 by second placed Ellysia Oldsen (Marion) 1:01.23 2ith Tianni Gilmour (USC Spartans, QLD) third in 1:0126.

Rio Olympian Madison Wilson wrapped up an impressive  freestyle treble, adding the 100m freestyle gold to her trophy cabinet in 53.99, in keeping with her wins over 50m and 200m freestyle and her silver in the 400m.

While in this morning’s heats the male swimmer of the moment, Nunawading’s Matthew Temple – the winner of the 100 and 200m butterfly and the 50 and 100m freestyle clocked the fastest time of the day in the 200m freestyle – touching in 1:48.25 in the preliminaries, skipping the final to fly home to Melbourne to start a fresh week’s training.

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