Swimming World Presents – Emma McKeon: Hard Work and Perseverance Pay Off

SW February 2012 -Emma McKeon - Hard Work and Perseverance Pay Off
Emma McKeon [PHOTO CREDIT: DELLY CARR/SWIMMING AUSTRALIA]

Swimming World Presents – Emma McKeon: Hard Work and Perseverance Pay Off

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Emma McKeon: Hard Work and Perseverance Pay Off

By David Rieder
Photos by Delly Carr/Swimming Australia

After not qualifying for Australia’s Olympic team in 2012, Emma McKeon was ready to quit…but over the next several months, she had a change of heart and understood what was necessary to compete at a higher level. Since then, she has become a significant international force, a consistent podium presence and one of the world’s most impactful relay swimmers.

At Australia’s Olympic Swimming Trials in 2012, Emma McKeon, then 17, finished seventh in the 100 free, one spot away from qualifying for her first Olympics in the 400 free relay. That same week, she watched her older brother, David, win the 400 free and place third in the 200 free to qualify for London.

She was ready to give it all up!

“I was really upset when I missed that team—obviously because my brother made it, and our other training partner, Jarrod Poort…he made it as well in the 1500. I was really upset after that, and then I actually stopped swimming not long after the Trials,” McKeon said. “I knew I wanted to go to the Olympics, but I didn’t want to wait another four years, so I was like, ‘I’ll just stop.’”

But over the next several months, around the time she traveled to London to watch David compete, McKeon began to understand the level of effort necessary in order to qualify for international meets and to become one of the world’s best swimmers. So when she returned to the sport in late 2012, McKeon said, “I guess I just knew that you have to be showing up to training every day and doing everything properly to be able to perform at the level I wanted to perform at.”

And then, less than 12 months after London, McKeon found herself in a key spot on an Australian relay battling for a World Championships title—and she has been in that same central role each year since.

One year after her near miss in making the 2012 Olympic team, McKeon found herself in a key pressure point on the first day of her first major international meet. Swimming the third leg on the 400 free relay at the 2013 FINA World Championships after sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell, McKeon dove in with the lead and maintained the advantage, splitting 53.19. Australia would end up with the silver medal that day, and McKeon would win two more silver medals at that meet as a prelims relay swimmer.

“I always knew that I perform well on relays, and even before that, all my fastest times in relays were well faster than my PBs,” McKeon said. “I knew I could do a good job being a part of those relays, so I wasn’t nervous to be a part of them. I knew I could contribute quite well.”


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SW February 2012 - Emma McKeon COVER[PHOTO BY DELLY CARR, SWIMMING AUSTRALIA]

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Swimming World Magazine February 2021 Issue

FEATURES

012 THE PRIDE OF GIRLS’ POLO IN THE GATEWAY CITY
by Michael Randazzo
When COVID-19 lockdowns last spring stopped polo, Rob Peglar and Abby VerMeer didn’t hesitate: they focused on getting girls water polo untracked in the Gateway City. The result: the St. Louis Lions, the city’s first all-girls team.

014 ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL
by Dan D’Addona
The popular motto of The Musketeers, built on supporting each other as well as the group, is just one of many reasons why the University of Texas remains among the strongest in men’s college swimming and diving.

020 READY FOR A BREAKTHROUGH
by Andy Ross
Melanie Margalis is an Olympic relay gold medalist and a three-time relay champion at Worlds, but a podium finish in an individual event has eluded her on the world’s biggest stage. After ranking No. 1 in the 400 IM and No. 3 in the shorter medley for 2020, her turn to win a medal for the United States could take place this year in Tokyo.

022 PERSEVERANCE AND HARD  WORK PAY OFF
by David Rieder
After not qualifying for Australia’s Olympic team in 2012, Emma McKeon was ready to quit…but over the next several months, she had a change of heart and understood what was necessary to compete at a higher level. Since then, she has become a significant international force, a consistent podium presence and one of the world’s most impactful relay swimmers.

026 TAKEOFF TO TOKYO: TARNISHED GOLD
by John Lohn
East Germany’s Kristin Otto will long be remembered as a highly decorated athlete, and for turning in one of the greatest Olympic outings in history, winning six gold medals at the 1988 Games. But because of the links to her and performance-enhancing drugs, what she accomplished—before and in Seoul—will always be tainted.

029 WHO “SHOT” THE SWIMMERS? (Part 2)
by Bruce Wigo
Shortly after the 1936 Olympics in a lab in Boston, Harold “Doc” Edgerton, an electrical engineering professor at MIT, began tinkering with equipment that would change the way science explains natural phenomena—and with it, the art of aquatic sports photography—forever.

032 NUTRITION: TO BE THE BEST, YOU NEED TO EAT THE BEST!
by Dawn Weatherwax
Each year really does build onto another—nutrition is an imperative part of the process, even at an early age.

COACHING

016 SELLING PROCESS TO SWIMMERS (Part 2)
by Michael J. Stott
In 1993, psychologist Anders Ericsson wrote that greatness wasn’t born, but grown. Fifteen years later, author Malcolm Gladwell suggested that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a skill or field. Known by the term, “process,” swim coaches use that learning curve to improve the performance of their swimmers.

036 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: FREESTYLE TECHNIQUE FOR SPRINT AND DISTANCE (Part 2)
by Rod Havriluk
Optimal freestyle technique for sprint and distance is identical with respect to the arm motion throughout the stroke cycle, but the arm coordination is different. While a swimmer can swim a wide range of velocities with opposition coordination, a swimmer will only achieve his/her fastest velocity with superposition coordination.

040 SPECIAL SETS: TRAINING THE PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE—THEN AND NOW
by Michael J. Stott
In his lengthy career, Gregg Troy has mentored athletes of all ages and abilities, which has given him a unique perspective of how to prepare post-college grads for excellence at the international level.

042 Q&A WITH COACH JOE PLANE
by Michael J. Stott

044 HOW THEY TRAIN ANDREW IVERSON
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

035 DRYSIDE TRAINING: TIME TO GET STRONG…AGAIN!
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

038 GOLDMINDS: JUST GO WITH THE FLOW
by Wayne Goldsmith
How can you control—and even master—your emotions? The answer is by learning to become a more resilient swimmer. Here’s how…

046 UP & COMERS: RICHARD POPLAWSKI
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS

010 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

011 DID YOU KNOW: 

ABOUT FREDERICK LANE?

047  GUTTERTALK

049 PARTING SHOT

 

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