To see all of our 2021 Swammy Awards, click here.
2021 OCEANIC FEMALE SWIMMER OF THE YEAR: EMMA MCKEON (AUS)
For how prolific 27-year-old Emma McKeon‘s career has been, it’s somewhat surprising the Griffith University star doesn’t appear on our list of previous Oceanic Female Swimmer of the Year award winners.
That fact simply reflects the depth of talent that’s ever-present within the nation of Australia particularly, with the likes of Cate Campbell, Emily Seebohm, Ariarne Titmus and Kaylee McKeown earning past honors.
But this was McKeon’s year from start to finish, highlighted by a monstrous performance at this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
McKeon entered the postponed competition as a medal contender across a packed schedule that included a massive 7 events.
And McKeon delivered, reaping individual gold in both the 50m and 100m freestyle events while snagging bronze in the 100m fly. As a critical component on relays, McKeon helped the Aussies top the podium in the 400m free relay, 400m medley relay and also land bronze in the 800m free relay and mixed medley.
In the grand scheme of storied Australian swimming history, McKeon remarkably represents the first-ever Australian woman to take 50m freestyle gold at an Olympics.
Additionally, McKeon’s having captured 7 medals rendered her the title of most decorated Australian Olympian. She is the only Australian to have ever won 11 Olympic medals in total.
But McKeon did anything but rest on her laurels, diving right into the International Swimming League (ISL) season as a member of London Roar, while also tackling the FINA World Cup Series.
In the latter, McKeon was a one-woman wrecking ball, consistently finishing in the top 3 at each of the World Cup meets, including 2nd in Berlin, 1st in Budapest, 2nd in Doha and 1st in Kazan. Her consistency resulted in McKeon finishing as the overall World Cup winner, collecting $144,000 USD in the process.
- Kaylee McKeown (AUS) – The 2020 Swammy Award winner in this category was at it again in 2021, crushing her Olympic debut with a quartet of medals in Tokyo. The versatile 20-year-old topped the podium in the 100m and 200m backstroke events while also reaping gold on the women’s medley and bronze on the mixed medley relays. Prior to Tokyo, McKeown smashed a new World Record in the 100m backstroke. While competing at the Aussie Olympic Trials, the Chris Mooney-trained star busted out a time of 57.45 to stun the world and set herself up for Olympic success just weeks later.
- Ariarne Titmus (AUS) – Another double gold medalist from Australia came in the form of Titmus, the Tasmanian freestyler who first landed on the map by beating USA’s Katie Ledecky in the 400m free at the 2019 FINA World Championships. Titmus of St. Peters Western did it again on the world’s biggest swimming stage, beating Ledecky for gold in the 400m free while also taking the 200m free Olympic title. Titmus also took silver in the 800m free and was a member of the bronze medal-garnering women’s 800m free relay.