Gamble pays off for McKeown

Published 10:30am 20 June 2022

Gamble pays off for McKeown
Words by Kylie Knight
File picture: Delly Carr Swimming Australia

Former Caboolture girl Kaylee McKeown’s decision to withdraw from her pet event to focus on the 200m medley has paid off with a silver medal at the FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

McKeown reportedly pulled out of the 100m backstroke the night before, instead opting to contest the 200m medley, which she is considering for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

She holds the world record and is the reigning Olympic champion for the 100m backstroke, so her decision not to compete in the event at the world championships surprised many.

The move paid off with McKeown claiming silver in her first international final in the 200m medley.

McKeown touched the wall behind USA’s Alex Walsh with a time of 2:08.57. Walsh dominated the race and finished with a time of 2:07.13. The USA’s Leah Hayes was third with a time of 2:08.91.

“I wasn't really expecting to come up and podium tonight, it was more just getting the international experience,” she told Channel 9.

“Sadly, I pulled out of this event at the Olympics to focus on the backstroke and I think this is the perfect refresher for the next three years, just taking the pressure off and it was really good mentally for me.

“At the start of this year, I wasn't even sure if I would be doing Worlds or Commonwealth Games because of my shoulder injury so I'm really proud of myself that I have managed to get here and gather the momentum to get on the podium in my first event.”

McKeown, 20, was born in Redcliffe and went to school at St Paul's Lutheran Primary in Caboolture.

Her formative swimming career was at Australian Crawl in Burpengary with junior development coach Jodie Morgan and head coach Chris Mooney.

The FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, run from June 18 until July 3.

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