Olympics: Aussie Kaylee McKeown Earns Top Seed in 200 Backstroke As Chase For Double Begins

Jul 25, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Kaylee McKeown (AUS) reacts after the women's 100m backstroke heats during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

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Olympics: Aussie Kaylee McKeown Earns Top Seed in 200 Backstroke As Chase For Double Begins

The gold medal from the 100-meter backstroke already owned, Australia’s Kaylee McKeown set out on completing the backstroke double at the Olympic Games in Tokyo during Friday night’s prelims. McKeown cruised to a time of 2:08.18, which gave her the top seed ahead of Canada’s Kylie Masse and the United States’ Rhyan White. Masse and White posted identical times of 2:08.23.

Prior to the meet, McKeown made the decision to drop the 200 individual medley from her program and focus on chasing a backstroke sweep. If she can successfully navigate two more rounds of the 200 back, that decision will look genius. With her victory in the 100 backstroke, McKeown became the first Australian female to win the Olympic title in that event, and she will now try to become the first Aussie woman to win the 200 back.

American Phoebe Bacon advanced as the fourth seed in 2:08.30, followed by China’s Liu Yaxin in 2:08.36. Also going under 2:09 was Canada’s Taylor Ruck, who stopped the clock in 2:08.87. China’s Peng Xuwei (2:09.03) was seventh while Australia’s Emily Seebohm and Hungary’s Katalin Burian tied for eighth in 2:09.10.

Although she is in Tokyo and has medaled in the 100 backstroke and 200 butterfly, world-record holder Regan Smith was not part of the 200 backstroke. At the United States Trials, Smith surprisingly finished outside of the top-two to miss qualifying for the Games in her best event.


Women’s 200 Backstroke

World Record: Regan Smith, United States, 2:03.35 (2019)
Olympic Record: Missy Franklin, United States, 2:04.06 (2012)


1. Kaylee McKeown (Australia) 2:08.18
2. Kylie Masse (Canada) 2:08.23
2. Rhyan White (United States) 2:08.23
4. Phoebe Bacon (United States) 2:08.30
5. Liu Yaxin (China) 2:08.36
6. Taylor Ruck (Canada) 2:08.87
7. Peng Xuwei (China) 2:09.03
8. Katalin Burian (Hungary) 2:09.10
8. Emily Seebohm (Australia) 2:09.10
10. Lena Grabowski (Austria) 2:09.77
11. Tatiana Salcutan (Moldova) 2:09.98
12. Margherita Panziera (Italy) 2:10.26
13. Laura Bernat (Poland) 2:10.37
14. Africa Zamorano (Spain) 2:10.72
15. Aviv Barzelay (Israel) 2:11.13
16. Sharon van Rouwendaal (Netherlands) 2:11.24