2021 SWIMMING AUSTRALIA OLYMPIC TRIALS
- Saturday, June 12th – Thursday, June 17th
- South Australia Aquatic & Leisure Centre
- Sole Olympic-Qualifying Opportunity
- 2021 Swimming Australia Olympic Nomination Criteria
- Meet Site
- Start Lists
Australia’s Kaylee McKeown, who has risen to superstardom with a number of world-leading swims during the coronavirus pandemic, will sit out the 400 IM at Australia’s upcoming Olympic Trials.
Instead, she’ll focus on the 100 back, 200 back, and 200 IM at that meet.
Last December, McKeown swam 4:32.73 in the 400 IM in long course at the Queensland Championships. That swim makes her the 16th-best performer in the history of the event and the 2nd-fastest Australian to ever race it, behind only Olympic champion Steph Rice.
Significantly, it also makes McKeown the 4th-fastest swimmer in the event since the 2019 World Championships:
- Katinka Hosszu, Hungary – 4:32.30
- Melanie Margalis, United States – 4:32.53
- Yui Ohashi, Japan – 4:32.57
- Kaylee McKeown, Australia – 4:32.73
- Mireia Belmonte, Spain – 4:34.47
With Mireia Belmonte’s ongoing injury issues probably eliminating her from contention, and with Katinka Hosszu showing cracks in her iron armor, McKeown would’ve had a strong chance for an Olympic medal in the 400 IM.
She’ll instead pass that up to focus on the backstroke races, where gold and World Records seem in range, and the shorter 200 IM. The backstrokes will have a deep field, led by another teenager Regan Smith, who set World Records in both at the 2019 World Championships.
The 400 IM doesn’t have a direct event conflict with her 100 back, 200 back, or 200 IM, though the final of the 400 IM is the morning of the prelims of the 100 back (with the flipped schedule in Tokyo). It’s also the first day of the meet, and we’ve seen swimmers before go after that early 400 IM and seem to struggle to follow up the strain later in the meet.
McKeown always had choices to make at Australia’s Olympic Trials. With the 100 backstroke comes a spot on the Australian medley relay, which would give her at least 4 events at her first Olympic Games.
With a 1:57.76 in the 200 free in April, there’s a chance she’ll also be optioned in to Australia’s 800 free relay, even if she doesn’t swim the event individually at Trials.
That could leave McKeown with as many as 5 other events that would be adversely impacted by the opening 400 IM in Tokyo, if she qualified.
The Australian Olympic Trials run from June 12-17 at the South Australia Aquatic and Leisure Centre.