Known for her strong work ethic and passion for her sport, Kaylee McKeown is an Australian swimmer who has represented her country in international competitions, including the 2019 World Aquatics Championships and the 2020 Summer Olympics. She specializes in backstroke and has won multiple medals at the Australian Swimming Championships and Commonwealth Games.
Born Kaylee Rochelle McKeown on July 12, 2001, in Redcliff, Queensland, Australia, she began her swimming career at a young age, competing in local and regional competitions in Australia. She made her international debut in 2018, competing at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, where she won a silver medal in the 200m backstroke.
1. How it Started?
Like her older sister, Taylor McKeown, Kaylee also showed great talent in the water from a young age. When she was 15 years old, she joined Taylor on the Australian Swim Team (referred to as the Dolphins) as one of the youngest members.
McKeown competed at the 2016 Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, held in August in Maui, Hawaii, in the United States. She won the gold medal in the 200-meter backstroke and the bronze medal in the 100-meter backstroke event.
At the 2017 FINA World Championships, she placed 4th in the 200-meter backstroke and set a new Junior World record.
In the 100 and 200-meter backstroke events at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Kaylee placed fourth. At the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, she won gold in the 50-meter backstroke, silver in the 100-meter backstroke and the 4×100-meter medley, and bronze in the 200-meter backstroke.
Kaylee McKeown bagged her first major international medals on a senior level at the 2019 FINA World Championships by claiming silver in the 200-meter backstroke and the 4×100-meter medley relay event.
Kaylee McKeown triumphed in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games as an Olympic triple-gold medalist. She earned gold medals in the 100 and 200-meter backstroke and the 4×100-meter medley relay in addition to setting an Olympic record in the 100-meter backstroke.
She was the only Australian or USA Olympic swims team member to break a world record at these Olympic trials. In the 4×100-meter mixed medley relay, Kaylee also won the bronze medal.
At the Medal Shots Long Course Preparation Meet in Brisbane in November 2020, Kaylee broke the Australian record to become the second-fastest swimmer in history in the 100-meter backstroke event. She also became the first Australian woman to set a new Australian and Commonwealth record in the 200-meter backstroke.
She set new personal records in the 200, 100, and 50-meter backstroke events at the 2021 Sydney Open, shattering three national records in the course of a single weekend.
Kaylee won the women’s 200-meter backstroke gold medal and three silver medals at the 2022 FINA World Championships. In addition, she won four gold medals, one silver, and one bronze at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, where she set yet another new Commonwealth record in the 200-meter backstroke.
In the 2022 World Short Course Championships, Kaylee grabbed 3 gold medals (100 and 200-meter backstroke, and 4×50-meter medley relay), a silver in the 4×100-meter medley, and a bronze in the 200-meter individual medley event.
3. Breaking the Olympic World Record
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games were particularly hard for Kaylee McKeown, as her father, Sholto, passed away in August of that year, after a difficult battle with brain cancer. She has a tattoo on her foot with the words I’ll always be with you, to commemorate his memory. He has been her biggest supporter since the beginning.
In the 100m backstroke, Kaylee was coming third behind Canada’s Kylie Masse and USA’s Regan Smith, but her speed and endurance led her to victory in the final 50 meters, leading to a gold medal, and setting a new Olympic record.
This medal also marks the 200th Olympic medal won by an Australian woman. Read more about Australia at the Olympics here.
After the race, her joy was clear to see as she swore on television before laughing it off and whooping.
4. Kaylee McKeownTraining
Initially, Kaylee McKeown trained under Chris Mooney, who was the head coach of the University of Sunshine Coast in Australia. In 2018, under him, the girls trained with a 17-day on and 4-day off schedule, the challenge of which she greatly enjoyed.
Now, Kaylee’s coach is Michael Bohl, who keeps her focused and gives calm realistic advice. It was on his advice that she decided not to go ahead with the medley events in Budapest, leading to her multiple events in her other categories.
She trains with the swim team at Griffith University, and it is well-known that she is a hard worker who takes the training very seriously.
5. The Struggles
Both Kaylee and her sister suffer from asthma, but that hasn’t stopped either of them from giving their best and thriving in this Olympic sport. Kaylee has said that she would like to let all young people with asthma know that with the proper medication and care, they can do anything they set their minds to.
Her father’s death hit her hard, but she showed her dedication and determination by winning 3 gold medals and breaking an Olympic record that very same year.
6. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q.1 How old is Kaylee Mckeown?
Kaylee McKeown was born on July 12, 2001, and is currently 21 years old. You can keep yourself updated about her through her Instagram.
Q.2 What’s next for Kaylee McKeown?
Kaylee Mckeown has a busy schedule in the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics. Besides her specialty in backstroke, she has decided to add medley events to her event list.
7. Closing Notes
Kaylee McKeown, a backstroke specialist, and Olympic world record holder is an inspiration to many. She is considered to be one of the top backstroke swimmers in the world and is known for her work ethic and determination to be the best in the sport. She won a bronze medal in the 200m backstroke at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships, becoming the youngest Australian swimmer to win a medal at the World Championships.
Throughout her career, McKeown has become one of the top backstroke swimmers in the world and continues to compete at the highest level of international swimming.