Kaylee McKeown’s Surprise Text Message From Regan Smith Just Hours Before Her World Record Attempt

Kaylee McKeown breaks Commonwealth and Australian Record, 100m BACKSTROKE Final, 2021 Sydney Open, Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre , May 15 2021. Photo by Delly Carr / SOPAC. Pic credit is mandatory for complimentary editorial usage. I thank you in advance.
THUMBS UP: Kaylee McKeown says missing the world record today will keep her focused for the Australian Olympic Trials in Adelaide next month. Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (SOPAC)

Australian swimming’s latest rising star of the pool Kaylee McKeown has revealed she received a surprise text message on the eve of her world record attempt that saw her swim within a whisker of the 100m backstroke world mark in Sydney today.

It was her loudest warning shot yet in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics with the 19-year-old from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast stopping the clock at 57.63 on the second day of finals at the Sydney Open – after her stinging attack on the record books brought the Sydney Open Meet to light.

It was just six one hundredths (0.06) of a second outside the 2019 world record of 57.57, set by American Regan Smith at the 2019 World Championships.

And McKeown (USC Spartans) revealed she actually received a text message from her number one rival after also nudging her 200m world record yesterday, when McKeown clocked the fourth fastest time in history, with her 2:04.31.

“It’s nice to hear from competitors from all over the world, nice to know they’re watching and they’ve got your back as well,” revealed McKeown after receiving the message from Smith, watching on Swimming NSW’s Swim TV live stream.

“Regan is an outstanding swimmer and she’s a lovely person (too). It’s a pretty outstanding world record to be chasing and to come up and edge a bit closer it’s pretty exciting.

“There are a lot of girls out there still chasing those times….I’ll just see where it takes me…”

McKeown, who with fellow Queenslander Emma McKeon, has been in red hot form at the final meet being swum at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre before next month’s crucial Australian Olympic Trials in Adelaide.

“When I touched the wall I looked over at my coach Chris Mooney and he wasn’t looking at me…and I thought what?” said McKeown.

“He was (actually) shaking hands with all the other coaches and of course he came down and of course he’s happy with me as well.

“I wasn’t expecting to come out and do that swim this morning, but I’ve got no complaints about it. I’m pretty happy.

“It was so close but I have to have something to chase and Regan (Smith) is still the No 1 girl at the moment and then I’ve got a lot of girls chasing me here like Emily Seebohm  (second today in 59.06) and Minna Atherton (in Canberra on a training camp) and other girls coming out left right and centre and there is still a month to go (to our Trials).

“Who knows what can happen in that time…? And between now and then I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and keep training hard.”

And will the world record be in her sights in Adelaide?

“I don’t think about the world records…going to the Trials I’ll just rock up at the meet and do the best that I can…if it happens on the day it happens if it doesn’t it doesn’t….

Kaylee McKeown breaks Commonwealth and Australian Record, 100m BACKSTROKE Final, 2021 Sydney Open, Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre , May 15 2021. Photo by Delly Carr / SOPAC. Pic credit is mandatory for complimentary editorial usage. I thank you in advance.

SHAKA-INGLY CLOSE: Kaylee McKeown hanging loose after swimming just 0.06 outside the 100m backstroke WR. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (SOPAC).

McKeown has certainly made every post a winner in an outstanding 12 month countdown which has seen her re-write the Commonwealth and Australian backstroking record books, claiming the world short course record in the 200m backstroke along the way.

 

And her performances came after the tragic loss of her father Sholto last August after a two-year battle with brain cancer.

“Having the year I had last year has really put things into perspective for me and I realised there’s no point wasting my time,” said McKeown, who dedicates every swim to the memory of her late Dad and her greatest fan.

“I would rather get in and do the best I can and have no regrets about it….”

McKeown will line up tonight in the heats of the 200m individual medley, with the final to be swum tomorrow morning.

With coach Mooney divulging her plans moving forward – and her decision not to race the 400IM in this Olympic preparation – despite the fact that no one has swum faster since McKeown clocked the fastest time in the world for the last 12 months at the December Queensland Championships.

“I trust Kaylee and Kaylee trusts me,” said Mooney, who said that previous Australian Head Coach Jacco Verhaeren and current National Head Coach Rohan Taylor had both played key mentoring roles as he treads into unchartered waters with a key Olympic medal prospect.

“We have put a lot into this one; we are focused on a couple of events we think we can be successful in and we’ll really focus in on those events now and the specificity will hone in on two events.

“We’ll swim three events at Trials (the 100 and 200m backstroke and 200IM) but when I say we’ll hone in on two events, they may well be the 200 backstroke and the 200IM.

“The medley is a really good event to help our 200m backstroke as well; if you focus on the one event all the time you can get a bit stale.

Kaylee McKeown breaks Commonwealth and Australian Record, 100m BACKSTROKE Final, 2021 Sydney Open, Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre , May 15 2021. Photo by Delly Carr / SOPAC Images. Pic credit is mandatory for complimentary editorial usage. I thank you in advance.

KICKING UP HER HEALS IN SYDNEY: Kaylee McKeown shows the style that makes her one of the best in the world. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (SOPAC).

“By mixing up the events, you’re mixing up the training styles the IM requires…it definitely lends itself to the way she enjoys training.

“Regarding the 400 IM it would be probably difficult to look at that situation and justify it.

 

“From a physiological point of view, it’s one of the toughest events in the book – you have to do 4x 100 metre sprints…and changing strokes and the recovery time on two of those events, which you pretty much got up to the pedal to the floor in the heat, otherwise you don’t get the second swim.

“Physiologically, it just takes too much out of you for an event that might you might be swimming 48 hours down the track.

“So strategically, it’s been used throughout the season to help build capacity and racing, stimulating our fitness and training stimulus.

“It just doesn’t work with the other events but especially at the Olympics if you are going to get it right.

“You’ve got to give yourself every chance to do so and focussing on controlling the controllables.

“We’re not going to read our press. We’re going to keep a lid on it, and we’re just going to do our best to make sure we’re right on the night to perform at our best.”

Chris Mooney whistle

OVER THE MOON: Coach Chris Mooney could not be prouder of his super charge Kaylee McKeown. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

1 comment

  1. avatar
    Swimfan

    Very informative article!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.