Australian swimmer breaks 100-meter backstroke world record | Sports News
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) – Swimmer Kaylee McKeown says her father’s death 10 months ago prompted her to break the 100-meter backstroke world record on Sunday at the Australian Olympic trials.
McKeown, 19, clocked 57.45 seconds at the South Australian Aquatic Center to improve on the previous mark of 57.57 set by American Regan Smith in 2019.
McKeown’s father, Sholto, died of brain cancer last August.
“With COVID and the passing of my father in August of last year, it’s been a huge, huge build-up for these trials,” she said.
“And I turned it into a bit of hunger and motivation behind me. I use it every day when I wake up. I know it’s a privilege to be on this earth and to walk and talk. So getting up and doing this tonight isn’t really for me but for my family.
McKeown last month set a Commonwealth and Australia record of 57.63. Just before Sunday’s final, his trainer Chris Mooney signaled that the world record was a goal.
“He said something to me before I warmed up, it was like ‘you know mate I believe in you’,” she said. “I knew, and he knew at that point, that it was time to go. He knew something special was about to happen. I might not know it, but I was just trying to keep my nerves as low as possible.
McKeown’s record establishes a much-anticipated showdown with American star Smith at the Tokyo Olympics next month.
“It’s just the one that comes the day, you never know what might happen in five, six weeks,” she said.
Emily Seebohm was second in 58.59 to qualify for her fourth Olympics.
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