20-year-old Kaylee McKeown lit the pool on fire at the just-concluded Australian Swimming Championships.
The multi-Olympic gold medalist took on a grueling schedule at that World Championships Trials meet in South Australia, racing the 100m back, 200m back, 200m IM and 400m IM events.
But not only did McKeown engage in such a tough lineup of events she crushed times good enough to land atop the podium in each of them.
The Michael Bohl–trained athlete took the 100m back in 58.49, the 200m back in 2:05.31, the 200m IM in 2:09.15 and the 400m IM in 4:31.74. The latter event was especially exciting, as it marked a big-time personal best as well as the #2 outing in the world this season.
Immediately after the meet, the question was raised as to whether or not McKeown would take on such a schedule at an international Championships-level meet, such as Worlds in Budapest, the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, and beyond.
But ‘beyond’ is already where McKeown’s and coach Bohl’s heads are at, as Australian media is reporting that the athlete confirmed she will not contest all 4 events at either Worlds or Commonwealths. Instead, she is reportedly eyeing a 3-event schedule for each meet with relays added on to give her another chance at a massive elite medal haul.
Per Advertiser, ‘she won’t swim the 400m at the world titles, but will take the plunge at the Commonwealth Games because it’s on the first day of competition.’
That means in Birmingham we will most likely see a showdown between McKeown and the #1 400m IM swimmer in the world right now, Canadian teen phenom Summer McIntosh.
The painful quad of events is still on the table for Paris 2024, however.
As far as the toughest part, for the Aussie, “It’s the 400m IM into 100m back,” McKeown said. “I know it‘s a rough double, but I’m looking forward to challenging myself, hopefully making that happen.
“From here now it‘s stepping stones towards Paris… it doesn’t matter what you do. It’s what happens in the Olympic year.” (Advertiser)
Bohl said, “The 200m medley is definitely something that she wants to put on the radar for Paris and I‘d say that’s 100 per cent locked and she’ll be looking at adding that to her repertoire. (Advertiser)
“As for the 400m medley, I‘d say it’s 50-50 call. She can obviously do well in it but it sort of depends on what’s happening on the world scene.”
“If five girls go under 4:30, then you wouldn‘t waste your time doing it but if she’s very competitive in that in the next two years – and two years is a long time – so you never say never,” said Bohl.
The ultimate factor in deciding McKeown’s events will come down to how the swimming schedule is spread out in Paris. The exact day-by-day event outline has not yet been released.
At the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, McKeown would have had the 400m IM final on day 2 with the 100m back final on day 3, noting that Tokyo had morning finals and evening heats.
“You don’t want to get too greedy at the Olympics,” Bohl said.
“It‘s going to be very difficult to swim all the races that she potentially could be swimming and do a great job all the way through because there’s a lot of people moving forward in those events.”