Kaylee McKeown Commits to Swim the 200 IM at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games

2024 AUSTRALIAN OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

One of the big ‘will she/won’t she’ questions of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games got an answer on Wednesday evening on the Gold Coast of Australia.

Kaylee McKeown, who swam a new Australian Record of 2:06.99 in the 200 IM final, committed to swim the event in a post-race interview.

“Absolutely, I’m up for the challenge,” said the 22-year-old who was the 2023 World Champion in all three races. “It’ll be hard … but I feel like I’m putting myself in a good position to test myself to do the best I can.”

At the 2023 World Championships, the last globally-attended meet, a marquee matchup in the 200 IM was interrupted when McKeown was disqualified for an illegal turn in the semi-finals. But her 2:06, plus her commitment, means the showdown is on, for now, for the Olympic Games.

Swimming the 200 IM through the rounds still leaves her with one fewer race than she had at the World Championships (no 50 back at the Olympics): 100 back, 200 back, 200 IM, women’s 400 medley relay, and mixed 400 medley relay. But it’s not necessarily the quantity of swims over the nine day meet that is the problem. The primary conflict is that the semi-finals of the 200 IM comes in the same session as the finals of the 200 back, where McKeown will face another big battle against American Regan Smith, plus a World Record chase.

The good news for McKeown is that the 200 backstroke final is early in the session at 8:39PM, while the 200 IM finishes the session at 10:34PM. She should have no problem qualifying for the final, even on a second swim, and then the only real conflict to the 200 back is having the 200 IM prelims session the same morning – though she demonstrated on Wednesday that swimming fast in the morning and the evening of the same day is no problem for her (she was 2:08 in prelims of the 200 IM at the Australian Championships).

If Canadian sensation Summer McIntosh commits to the event, then it becomes the race of the year, with five different legitimate contenders with five different sets of strengths and weaknesses demonstrating what makes these medley events so core to the swimming experience.

The below splits comparison shows those strengths and weaknesses, with green being relative strengths and red being relative weakness.

With outrageous times going on the board on a near-daily basis since February, the tensions ahead of this summer gets more-and-more exciting by the week.

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Troyy
1 month ago

Trolls are out in force.

phelpsfan
1 month ago

As a McKeown fan, I say she shouldn’t swim in it. Gonna get beaten by McIntosh anyways.

snailSpace
Reply to  phelpsfan
1 month ago

If we apply your logic to swimming in general, then only McKeown should swim the 100/200 back, because nobody else has a chance; only Ledecky should swim the 800/1500 free because nobody else has a chance; only McIntosh should swim the 200 fly/400IM because nobody else has a chance.
The problem with this train of thought is that if this is the case, then winning doesn’t mean anything, because there is no competition. The sport itself would be downright unwatchable.
Also it’s not like sliver/bronze medals are worthless.

Facts
1 month ago

She’s going to get smoked. Classic awe-see mistake

Sacre Bleu!
Reply to  Facts
1 month ago

How much smoked will Kaylee get?

Regan Smith-level of getting smoked? (Medium rare)

Or Gretchen Walsh-level of getting smoked? (Well done)

Facts
Reply to  Sacre Bleu!
1 month ago

Awe-see tears will fall like rain after the summer games. I’m sorry the truth brings such pain and anger to you.

JulianW
Reply to  Facts
7 days ago

who are you man, Kaylee will destroy you in every single event there is in swimming

Tea rex
1 month ago

Interesting how Kaylee (NOT a freestyler) has the fastest free split while Summer (the best distance swimmer) has by far the fastest opening speed.

Awsi Dooger
1 month ago

Too much focus on splits and similar nonsense. Generalities overwhelm specifics. The women’s individual medleys are always swept in the Olympic Games. Every time we hear all the reasons it won’t happen, then it happens again. Severe logic behind it. The best all around swimmer maximizes everywhere.

Numbers nearly one second off the world record are comically irrelevant by reach of a prodigy. Summer will win this by margin.

phelpsfan
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
1 month ago

“By margin” is bold, but you’re absolutely right about the IMs always being swept.

Sacre Bleu!
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
1 month ago

Aren’t you the one who always said back half speed is non sense and people who put emphasis on back half speed don’t win races?

NotHimAgain
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
1 month ago

I can’t wait to remind you of your comment when Kaylee wins gold in the event in Paris. I’m sure you won’t mind.

Sacre Bleu!
Reply to  NotHimAgain
1 month ago

I’ve already bookmarked their comment lol.

snailSpace
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
1 month ago

Your takes continue to be the worst. Which is the kind of consistency I aspire to in several aspects of life, so congrats I guess.

Sub13
1 month ago

As others have pointed out, from the video it definitely looks like a timer malfunction on the breast to free turn, so her breast leg was faster and free was slower than reported.

But she’s absolutely thrown down the gauntlet.

Yikes
1 month ago

Has Douglass announced that she’s choosing 2IM over the 50 free? Her medal chances are definitely higher in the IM but she probably prefers the 50… after all she is the American record holder!

Sub13
Reply to  Yikes
1 month ago

She’ll probably swim both at trials. I would be shocked if she picked the 50 free given she has essentially no chance at gold while in the 200IM she has a solid chance.

Troyy
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

They are back to back events at trials as well.

jeff
Reply to  Yikes
1 month ago

she said in the swimswam podcast that she’s most likely not doing the 50 from what i remember

oxyswim
Reply to  jeff
1 month ago

That’s correct, she said right after Worlds that she wouldn’t be swimming the 50 at trials.

PBJSwimming
1 month ago

This is shaping up to be an epic race.

Although, I think that either SM or KM could surprise us with a major time drop. Also, KD could be working hard on that second 50 and drop some time. The main thing that AW has going for her is that her schedule is likely to be lighter than the top three.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  PBJSwimming
1 month ago

However, with the amount of individual events and relay events previously swum thru seven days, it could end up a battle of attrition by the eighth day.

Last edited 1 month ago by Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
KRB
Reply to  PBJSwimming
1 month ago

Yep — there could even be a world record broken in this race if all the big names appear in this race. I’m not even going to guess who is likely to win until we see what happens at the various Trials.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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