Swimming sensation Kaylee McKeown overcomes nerves to secure gold for Australia

Jul 26, 2023
McKeown not only secured gold but also came within 0.08 seconds of her world record. Source: Getty Images.

Pre-competition nerves have done little to rattle swimmer Kaylee McKeown who secured Australia’s fifth gold medal at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka on Tuesday, July 25.

Her victory in the 100 metre backstroke comes after her recent disqualification from the 200m individual medley semi-finals after judges determined that she performed an illegal move as she switched from backstroke to breaststroke, a decision she considers “completely unfair”.

Her disqualification only pushed her to give a stellar performance in the pool, something she certainly achieved by not only securing gold but also coming within 0.08 seconds of her own world record.

“I was very, very nervous heading in, probably more so than I have ever been,” McKeown said.

“It was just to real testament myself dealing with what I have over the past few hours.

“Nerves just mean that you care about what you’re doing. When you train so hard for something, you just want it to all come together at the right moment.”

At 57.53 seconds, McKeown narrowly missed her own world record of 57.45, established in Adelaide back in 2021.

McKeown wasn’t the only one to do Australia proud in Japan with fellow swimming sensation Ariarne Titmus setting a new world record in the women’s 400-metre freestyle on day one of the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.

Titmus amazed everyone with her incredible performance, turning the expected exciting three-way contest into a display of her abilities. She broke the world record held by Canadian teen swimmer Summer MacIntosh with a remarkable time of 3:55.38.

By the halfway point, she had a 0.53-second lead over McIntosh, which she extended further in the latter half of the race. She surpassed the world record by a second at the 300-meter mark, finishing strong in the last 100 meters and securing the gold medal.

Titmus has become the first-ever swimmer to finish under the 3:56 mark, shaving a massive seven-tenths of a second off McIntosh’s previous record.

“I was really excited for this race coming in tonight, I haven’t really raced the best in the world since the Olympics,” Titmus told reporters.

“Katie and Summer always put on a great fight and I’m glad we could put on a show.

“I feel like I didn’t have the most perfect prep coming into this and I think it all came together in the last few months. To swim like that and swim really free and fearless, I feel really over the moon to get that one.”

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