Kaylee McKeown Unstoppable In Sydney: World Leading 200 IM of 2:08.73; Then 50 backstroke in 27.16

Kayle McKeown all smiles after 200Im win
DEADLY MEDLEY: Kaylee McKeown nailed her 200IM on the final day in Sydney. Now for the Trials in Adelaide.Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (SOPAC)

Kaylee McKeown Unstoppable In Sydney: World Leading 200 IM of 2:08.73; Then 50 backstroke in 27.16

The unstoppable Kaylee McKeown has today continued on her record breaking spree, wrapping up her Olympic Swimming Trials preparation with two more world class swims at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.

The 19-year-old followed up her near world record breaking swim in yesterday’s 100m backstroke win at the Sydney Open with another near miss today – this time in the non-Olympic 50m backstroke.

Clocking a new Commonwealth and Australian record of 27.16, the girl from USC Spartans was just 0.18secs outside the world mark, set by China’s Lui Xiang in 2018.

Kaylee fly

ON THE FLY: Kaylee McKeown sets up her medley with a flying start. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (SOPAC)

And it came 30 minutes after she established her third No 1 world ranked time of the meet, winning the 200m individual medley in 2:08.73 – a time only bettered in the 2020-21 season by her own 2:08.23, swum at last December’s Queensland State Championships – the third event in her repertoire for Tokyo.

The day before McKeown missed the 100m backstroke world mark by just 0.06 as she set about re-writing the record books in a three-day Sydney stopover en-route to Adelaide and then the long-awaited Tokyo Games.

The 100m was her second number one world ranked time in two days, coming after her 200m backstroke chart topper on day one of the last meet before next month’s Olympic Trials at Adelaide’s SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre.

And the last three days McKeown has lived up to a reputation revealed by her coach at the University of Sunshine Coast, Chris Mooney, as a “no fuss athlete who is not afraid of pain.”

“Kaylee takes her body and her mind and she punches through pain barriers like no one else I’ve ever seen in my life and she doesn’t mind doing it,” said Mooney.

“We really do put a lot of focus and attention on our race processes and we find that if we get those processes done well then the result usually follows.

“We never really focus on the result, just focus on what we can control.”

Zac Stubblety-Cook action Photo Delly Carr SOPAC

ZAC ATTACK: Chandler’s Zac Stubblety-Cook hands out a breaststroke lesson in Sydney. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (SOPAC)

While all eyes have been on McKeown this week, fellow Queenslander Zac Stubblety-Cook joined in the record setting, clocking a new Australian and NSW All-Comers record of 2:07.00 – the second fastest time in the world this year for 200m breaststroke.

National champion Stubblety-Cook, had earlier in the meet dipped under the minute barrier again in a personal best time of 59.72 to win the 100m, and is well and truly heading towards the Trials in a month with a huge confidence booster.

“It does wonders for the confidence, knowing that all the hard work in training, that comes down to just over two minutes work in the race is certainly paying off and we are on the right track,” said Stubblety Cook.

The meet finished on a high note for former Coffs Harbour girl, now TSS Aquatic, Gold Coast-based Maddy Gough who won the 1500m freestyle in a personal best time of 15:55.14, the fastest time by an Australian in six years and seven seconds under the Australian Olympic Qualifying time.

Gough heads to Adelaide for the Trials where she will be chasing a berth on her first Olympic Team up against her TSS team mates Moesha Johnson (third today in 16:14.64) and Kiah Melverton, World Junior champion Lani Pallister (Griffith University) and 10km Olympic qualifier, Noosa’s Kareena Lee (second today in 16:08.40).

Leah Neale

POWER STROKE: Rio Olympian Leah Neale surges to a confidence boosting victory in the 200m freestyle as she sets herself up for a second Olympic team in Tokyo. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (SOPAC)

In other events Olympian 4x200m freestyle relay silver medallist Leah Neale (Chandler) held on to take a 200m freestyle without Emma McKeon and Madi Wilson in a time of 1:57.79 from Rio team mate Brianna Throssell (UWA West Coast) 1:58.44 with Kia Melverton (TSS Aquatic) third 1:59.81 and her fellow Rio relay silver medallist Tamsin Cook (UWA West Coast) fourth in 1:59.89.

Throssell had earlier staged a late fight back before her second p;lace finish to Hunter’s Meg Bailey in the 200m butterfly – Bailey hanging on desperately to take the gold in 2:09.41 from Throssell (2:09.49) and Alice Stuart (TSS Aquatic) 2:12.29.

Nunawading pair Brendon Smith and Matthew Temple both finished the meet on the top of the dais with Smith taklng out the 400IM in 4:18.08 after a busy weekend, racing the form strokes in preparation for his Trials tilt at the gruelling IM while Temple added the 100m butterfly in 52.15 from National title holder Shaun Champion (UTS) 52.69 and Edward Marks (UTS) 52.93, which saw Cody Simpson (Superfish) improve his time with a pleasing 53.63 for eighth as he continues his new career pathway from the pop stage to the pool deck.


POOL OF DREAMS: Australia’s swimmers have relished the return to the “Pool of Dreams” the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre – home of the Sydney 2000 Olympics, for this week’s Sydney Open. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (SOPAC)