Commonwealth Games: Kaylee McKeown Dominates with Record in 200 Back

McKeown
Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr/Swimming Australia

Commonwealth Games: Kaylee McKeown Dominates with Record in 200 Back

The women’s 100 backstroke at the Commonwealth Games came down to the wire between Kaylee McKeown and Kylie Masse.

The 200 back was a different matter altogether.

There was no catching McKeown, who completed the backstroke double in Birmingham, England,  on Monday, winning by more than two seconds in the 200 back at 2:05.60.

The reigning Olympic champion set the Games record, downing .39 off the mark set by Masse in 2018. It’s three straight major titles for McKeown, who won the 200 back at the Olympics in 2:04.68 and claimed the World Championship in Budapest earlier this summer in 2:05.08.

Where McKeown and Masse had jockeyed back and forth in the 100 back, the former left no doubt Monday in the 200. She was out quickest at the 100 meters, a half-second clear of everyone with Masse third. She was 1.41 seconds out front at the 150, allowing her to power into the final 50, still outsplitting the field by nearly a full second in 31.56.

Masse had plenty for silver in 2:07.81, her second silver of these games and her sixth all-time Commonwealth Games medal.

Australia’s Minna Atherton was second at the midway point and third at the final wall, but she slid to four by .18. That’s thanks to a furious final 50 by Katie Shanahan, representing Scotland. Shanahan closed in 32.68 to Atherton’s 33.47 to get to the wall in 2:09.22.

No one else was quicker than the 2:13.00 of Holly McGill in fifth, in an event that generally lacked depth. It did, however, include a rare finals swim for the Isle of Jersey, with former George Washington University standout Gemma Athlerley finishing eighth.

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