Kaylee McKeown’s stunning gold medal swim in the Olympic 100m Backstroke final this morning brought a former coach to tears.
Redcliffe-born McKeown was in the middle of the pack at half-way, but up to second as the finish approached and stormed past Canadian Kylie Masse in the final few strokes to touch first.
Jodie Morgan, who was McKeown’s junior development coach at Australian Crawl in Burpengary, said: “Tears flowed at the finish.
“It was so emotional. This is the most elite you can get.
“There was relief and joy after everything she has had to deal with in the preparations.
“Losing her dad (in 2020), breaking the world record in the trials, the media interest, the pressure and expectation.
“So much pressure on a 20-year-old … and she dealt with it.”
Morgan, now junior development coach at Flinders Aquatic Academy in Buderim, is in close contact with McKeown’s family and coach.
Watching the race on the Sunshine Coast, Morgan was confident McKeown had the gold medal in the bag after 75m.
“She had the right kick under water and looked comfortable (down the first 50m),” she Morgan said, “turned well.
“I was 100 per cent certain Kaylee had it at 75m. She’s got that backend speed. It’s something (coach) Chris (Mooney) and I are big on.
“She has such a good finish. If you look, she actually won it by an arm’s length.
“I messaged Chris straight away and he came straight back. Isn’t it amazing? And I’ve texted Kaylee and Sharon. I’m so happy for them.”
McKeown, who used to live in Morayfield, won in 57.47 seconds, an Olympic record time, ahead of Kylie Masse, of Canada, 57.72 and Regan Smith, from the US, in 58.05.
McKeown is also in the 200m backstroke, starting with the heats on Thursday just after 9pm AEST.
“That’s her pet event and I’m very hopeful,” said Morgan.
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