Everything You Need to Know About 20-Year-Old Kaylee McKeown, the Australian Swimming Sensation Going to Tokyo Olympics 2020

Published 07/14/2021, 5:51 AM EDT
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 16: Kaylee McKeown after winning the Womens 100m Backstroke during the 2021 Australian Swimming Championships at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre on April 16, 2021 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

During the recent Australian swimming trials, Kaylee McKeown broke the world record for the 100-meter backstroke event. The 20-year-old swimmer is one of the favorites heading to Tokyo.


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Australians always produce talented swimmers each year and along with Kaylee, Elijah Winnington and Ariarne Titmus look to bring glory to the land down under.

Even though Regan Smith is the best swimmer in terms of backstroke events, this year’s title defense will be harder. With McKeown breaking the world record, the podium places are wide open.


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She made her debut when she was 15 years old, and looks to build on her form in Tokyo.

Kaylee McKeown to shine at Tokyo

Right after her debut with the Dolphins, the Queenslander made her international debut in the 2017 World Championships. Even though she missed out on a medal, she created a new junior world record for the 200-meter backstroke.

However, during the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, Kaylee won the gold medal for 50-meter backstroke and was a force to be reckoned with.

Moreover, the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju saw her winning a silver medal for the 200-meter backstroke race.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 17: Kaylee McKeown swims in the Womens 200m IM during the 2021 Australian Swimming Championships at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre on April 17, 2021 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

A young star is born. The recent Australian Trails boosted her stocks to an all-time high as she beat the world record set by Regan Smith for 100-meter backstroke by clocking a time of 57.45.

This sets an epic showdown between Smith and McKeown in Tokyo. Kaylee will take part in three individual events ranging from 100-m and 200-m backstroke, and the 200-m individual medley.

Apart from her Olympic record, she has an interesting story behind her success.


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Five interesting things about McKeown

Notably, her sister won the gold medal for Commonwealth Games in 2015 for the 200-meter breaststroke. After that, she represented Australia in Rio and won a silver medal for the 4x100m medley relay. The sisters share a tight bond while Kaylee speaks about her sister being an inspiration for her.

Although swimming runs in their family, Kaylee had a lot of troubles before it. She suffered from Asthma and had to go through education and special medication programs to overcome it.

In addition, it was a tough year for the McKeowns in 2020 as her father passed away after battling brain cancer. But Kaylee spoke about the motivation she needed and looks to be the rising star in Japan.

SUNSHINE COAST, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 22: Kaylee McKeown speaks to the media during a media opportunity at the University of Sunshine Coast Pool on June 22, 2021 in Sunshine Coast, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

In terms of workout routines, she trains for 17 days and then takes rest for 4 days. A unique approach which yields excellent results.


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While the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are just around the corner, fans expect Kaylee to dominate the backstroke events. Regan Smith acknowledged her performance in the Trails, while also qualifying for Tokyo. The women’s backstroke event will be an exciting race that fans would not want to miss.

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Jacob Gijy

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Jacob Gijy is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the centre the respect he deserves.