Swimming

19-year-old Kaylee McKeown shatters 200m short course backstroke world record

The short course world record falls to Australia's teen swim sensation

By Olympic Channel ·

Kaylee McKeown once again proved that she can do some real damage at the Tokyo Olympics next summer after she swam a short course world record in the 200m backstroke at the virtual Australian national championships in Brisbane.

The teenage swimmer clocked 1:58.94 on Saturday to knock almost half a second off Hungarian 3-time Olympic gold medallist Katinka Hosszu's mark set in 2014 (1:59.23).

"Short course is something we don't get to do very often, so I was excited to see what I could put up after some solid training this year," said 19-year-old McKeown.

"I headed over to my team mates and my coach and they said, 'You just got a world-record!', and I was like, 'What?'. I didn't actually know till a few minutes later."

McKeown showcased her talent at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games winning the 50m, claiming silver in the 100m and bronze in the 200m backstroke in a long course pool.

"There are so many experiences that occurred at the Youth Olympics that I'll take with me forever,” she told Olympic.org last month.

McKeown won two silver medals at the Gwangju Worlds last year in the 200m backstroke and the 4x100m relay medley.

"Dreaming" of the Olympic Games

There's no doubt on where McKeown's focus is right now.

"In Australia, we have some of the top women in the world racing in my events, so it's tough, but being able to go to the Olympic Games is what I've been dreaming of," she told Olympic.org in October.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic pressed pause on world sport McKeown was putting up impressive numbers swimming the seventh-fastest 200m (2:05.83) and ninth-fastest 100m (58.62) of all time in January.

Now she's returned all the more determined and has improved on personal bests in the 100m to 58.11 and the 200m to 2:04.49, felling previous Australian records in Brisbane earlier this month.

To say that McKeown is one to watch at Tokyo 2020 in an understatement.