Australia’s latest swimming world record holder Kaylee McKeown was fighting fatigue, yet still clocked the fastest 200m individual medley in almost two years.
A night after breaking the 100m backstroke world record, McKeown streeted the field in Monday night’s medley final at Australia’s Olympic trials in Adelaide.
The 19-year-old had just four-and-a-half hours sleep after her adrenaline-charged backstroke feat.
“That is probably the toughest thing I had to overcome this morning. There was a lot of fatigue,” she said.
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“I just looked at (coach Chris) Mooney and said ‘I don’t know how this is going to go’.
“He was really good. He understands. He just said ‘give it your best, there’s no pressure’.
“I just did the best I could recovery wise.
“I tried to get to sleep and I couldn’t. The adrenaline was still pumping.”
McKeown won in two minutes 08.19 seconds, the fastest time in the world in the event since August 2019.
“I need to improve on my turns a lot more. I just noticed myself that I was taking a bit of a breather on the wall,” she said.
“But there’s no complaints. I went under the qualifying time and a small PB (personal best) so I can’t ask for much more.”
McKeown was 3.6 seconds ahead of the next best, Tessa Wallace, who failed to finish inside the Olympic qualifying time.
Ariarne Titmus just misses 200m freestyle world record
Ariarne Titmus shrugs her sore shoulder after swimming the second-fastest women’s 200m freestyle ever.
She can’t comprehend how she got so close – 0.11 seconds – to a world record considered nigh-on untouchable.
Only an Italian in a super-suit a dozen years ago has gone quicker.
Titmus achieved her feat at Australia’s Olympic selection trials in Adelaide on Monday night.
Just 24 hours earlier, the 20-year-old was within 0.44 second of the 400m freestyle world record.
All this, with a dodgy shoulder.
“I don’t really know,” Titmus said of how she’s within reach of two world records rated almost unattainable.
“It (her shoulder) is holding up really well.
“At the start of the week I was a bit worried, it was a bit sore.
“But I am just managing it as best I can … it’s hanging in there, it’s getting the job done.”
With Emma McKeon trailing into second place, Titmus clocked one minute 53.09 seconds in the 200m final – 0.11 second from the world record set in a super-suit by Italian Federica Pellegrini in 2009.
Titmus will carry gold-medal favouritism into next month’s Tokyo Games. So will compatriot McKeown.
In the men’s 800m freestyle, Jack McLoughlin was the only swimmer inside the Olympic qualifying time.
Mack Horton, who missed selection to defend his 400m freestyle title on Tokyo, finished fifth – his only chance of making the Olympics is as a relay squad member.
And in the men’s 200m butterfly final, Matt Temple edged David Morgan by 0.15 second, with both inside the qualifying mark.