Kaylee McKeown has won gold. Photo: Australian Olympic Team (Twitter)

Kaylee McKeown has secured Australia's third gold medal at Tokyo after swimming to the ultimate glory in the 100 metre backstroke

She’s done it. Australia’s Kaylee McKeown has come away with gold in the 100-metre backstroke, setting a new Olympic record of 57.47. For all your Tokyo 2020 coverage, stay tuned to The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and the Olympics Central.

All of Australia was on the edge of its seats as watching McKeown swim her way into the history books, defeating Rio 2016 bronze medalist and World Champion Kylie Masse to claim the gold medal.

Masse got Silver with a time of 57.72 and USA’s Regina Smith got Bronze with a time of 58.05.

McKeown set a new Olympic world record after breaking Smith’s record of 57.86 that was set in the semi finals of the event.

Who is Kaylee McKeown?

Kaylee McKeown is 20-years-old hailing from Queensland and has burst onto the international swimming scene in the past three years.

McKeown joined her sister Taylor on the Australian Swim team at just the age of 15. Her first International medal came in 2019 where she came Silver in the 200m backstroke at the World Championships.

2021 so far has been filled with broken records, at the Sydney Open earlier this year McKeown set three national records. Those records were in the 50 metre, 100 metre and 200 metre backstroke.

Then came the world record, which she broke at the Australian Swimming trials with a time of 57.45 which she was just 0.2 seconds off breaking in the final today.

One things for sure, this isn’t the last time we hear the name Kaylee McKeown.

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Tokyo 2020: Road to Gold

2021 has been the year of broken records for McKeown and it was no different in her heat, McKeown finished on top after the heat stages with an Olympic record of 57.88.

The next stage was the semi finals and she did enough to get her a spot in the final, coming third overall after the semi’s with a time of 58.11

The win saw her make the final alongside one of her swimming idols in fellow Aussie Emily Seebohm who also qualified for the final.


The Final

Three seemed to be Australia’s lucky number with McKeown started in lane three, the same lane as Ariarne Titmus who one gold in the 200 metre freestyle yesterday.

It was a slow start for the Aussie and at the halfway mark of the race McKeown was in sitting in third with lots ground to make up.

McKeown stormed home in the last 50 metres and in the last 25 metres McKeown got her nose in front on World Champion in Masse.


What’s Next?

McKeown will soak up her win. She’s only competing in the one event at Tokyo after pulling out of the 200 metre medley to focus on the backstroke , which looking back on that decsion now it’s one that’s paid dividends.

One thing is for sure, even thought we won’t see her in action again this Olympics, you haven’t seen the last of Kaylee McKeown.

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