Dolfin Swim of the Week: McKeown Hits Personal-Best 2:05.8 in 200 Back

Disclaimer: Dolfin Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The  Dolfin Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.

Though American Regan Smith has grabbed the spotlight as the world’s most exciting young backstroker, Australia’s Kaylee McKeown is proving good enough to emerge from Smith’s shadow internationally.

The 18-year-old McKeown took silver behind Smith in the 200 back at 2019 Worlds. Had Smith (also a teenager) not smashed a world record in that race, the story of McKeown winning her first major international medal – silver on the Worlds stage – would have been a major storyline of the event.

McKeown hit a personal-best 2:06.26 in that race, dropping a half-second. But this week in South Australia, McKeown bettered even that time, going 2:05.83 to win the South Australia State Championships.

That time was a tenth better than the one put up across the world by Smith in the same week – Smith swam in the U.S., going 2:05.94. The two now sit #1 and #2 in the world ranks for the season. And McKeown moves to #7 all-time in the event, passing Katinka HosszuMcKeown is #2 all-time among Australians, and just two tenths from a 2017 national record held by Emily SeebohmHere’s a look at the star-studded list of top backstrokers in history:

All-Time Women’s 200m Backstroke Performers

1 2:03.35 Regan Smith USA 2019 World Champs 7/26/2019
2 2:04.06 Missy Franklin USA 2012 Olympic Games 7/28/2012
3 2:04.81 Kirsty Coventry ZIM 2009 World Champs 8/1/2009
4 2:04.94 Anastasia Fesikova RUS 2009 World Champs 8/1/2009
5 2:05.68 Emily Seebohm AUS 7/29/2017
6 2:05.72 Margherita Panziera ITA 2019 Italian Champs 4/2/2019
7 2:05.83 Kaylee McKeown AUS 2020 South Aussie States 1/20/2020
8 2:05.85 Katinka Hosszu HUN 7/29/2017

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Coach Mike 1952
1 year ago

Very good swim. Anyone know if she rested much for this meet?

Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
1 year ago

Her coach said she’s in the middle of ‘strong training ‘

Lane 8
1 year ago

If she keeps it up and peaks at the right time she could *very* well upset Smith

Reply to  Lane 8
1 year ago

I’m pretty sure a couple years ago there was a British coach who said McKeown would be the one to go down to Franklin 200bk times. Anybody remember who exactly it was? There is a lot of go between with UK and Aussie coaches these days so I figured she must be held in massively high regard back then.

Reply to  Dee
1 year ago

Yes us Aussies have been following her times as she moved up the junior ranks & there has been strong indication that Mckeown had the potential to go after Franklin 200bk times. I had never heard of Smith before she blew everyone apart at the Worlds, but lots of Americans were predicting big things for her, maybe not blowing Franklin’s time out the water, but certainly one with massive potential.

Reply to  Robbos
1 year ago

McKeown and Smith were trading WJRs for a while and my impression is that they were progressing at a similar rate until Smith took a quantum leap forward last summer. One can only hope that McKeown can continue to improve as well, since she clearly also has tons of potential.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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