Tears flow after McKeown's sensational Olympic gold

Published 1:22pm 27 July 2021

Tears flow after McKeown's sensational Olympic gold
Words by Nick Crockford

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.

Tears flow after McKeown's sensational Olympic gold
Kaylee McKeown celebrating at the Australia trials. Picture: Delly Carr, Swimming Australia

'So emotional'

“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.”

Tears flow after McKeown's sensational Olympic gold
Coach Chris Mooney congraulates Kaylee McKeown at the Australian trials.

Confident of gold

Morgan, now junior development coach at Flinders Aquatic Academy in Buderim, is in close contact with McKeown’s family and coach.

She works with Chris Mooney, McKeown’s coach in Burpengary and now at USC Spartans and mum Sharon has helped at the Flinders Aquatic Academy.

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.

Tears flow after McKeown's sensational Olympic gold
Kaylee McKeown at the Australian Olympic Trials in Adelaide last month. Picture Delly Carr Swimming Australia

Good finish

“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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