Kaylee McKeown has been crowned Young Achiever of the Year at the Women’s Health Australia 2022 Women in Sports Awards.
It’s a fitting accolade after 14 remarkable months in which the former Burpengary swimmer medalled in 14 of 15 events at the Tokyo Olympics, FINA World Championships and Birmingham Commonwealth Games. Eight were gold.
This year has McKeown scaled new heights, just a few weeks apart, at two of the biggest and meets in the world.
The Redcliffe-born star landed a gold medal in the 200m backstroke at the FINA World Championships in Budapest in June.
There were also silver medals in the 4x200m medley relay, 4x100m medley relay and 4x100m mixed medley events. She only missed the podium in the 50m backstroke.
Barely a month later, gold flowed at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham as McKeown did the 100m and 200m backstroke double and the 4x100m medley and mixed medley double.
She also collected silver in the 4x200m medley relay and bronze for the 50m backstroke.
About Kaylee McKeown
Kaylee McKeown – who was born in Redcliffe, lived at Caboolture and swam in Burpengary – is an Australian sporting legend at the age of 21.
She returned from the Tokyo Olympic Games last year with three gold medals from the 100m and 200m backstroke and 4x100m medley relay.
She also collected bronze in the 4x100m mixed medley relay, had three world records and won a legion of fans for inviting her hero Emily Seebohm on to the top of the medal podium.
This came 12 months after Sholto McKeown, Kaylee and Taylor’s father, died of cancer in 2020. Kaylee has the words “I’ll always be with you” tattooed on her foot in his memory.
Despite hitting national headlines in the last two years, it has been a long haul.
McKeown’s formative career was at Australian Crawl in Burpengary with junior development coach Jodie Morgan and then head coach Chris Mooney, before joining the latter at USC on the Sunshine Coast.
She made her Australian debut at the age of 15, alongside older sister Taylor, and just missed a medal two years later in the 200m backstroke at the 2017 world titles.
There were two fourth places at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and gold, silver and bronze the same year at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.
In 2019 McKeown won her first major international medal – silver in the World Championships at Gwangju.
She broke the world record for the women’s 100m backstroke at the 2021 Australian Olympic trials and the platform was set for glory at the COVID-delayed Tokyo Olympics.
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