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Kaylee MCKEOWN
Sport Swimming
NOC Australia   
GenderWomen
Born12 Jul 2001 in Redcliffe, AUS
Height1.75 m
 Human Interest 
Further Personal Information
Residence
Brisbane, QLD, AUS
Occupation
Athlete, Student
Languages
English
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
She learned to swim as a baby and joined her first swimming club at age 10.
Why this sport?
"I had asthma and we had pools at home so I learnt to swim."
Club / Team
USC Spartans Swim Club: Sippy Downs, QLD, AUS
Name of coach
Mick Palfrey [club]
General Interest
Nicknames
The Lion Cub, Pumbaa (gc2018.com, 01 Oct 2017; amazonaws.com, 08 Apr 2018)
Hobbies
Going to the beach. (commonwealthgames.com.au, 09 Apr 2018)
Most influential person in career
Her sister Taylor, and her late father Sholto. "He's my big inspiration and I use him in the last 50 [metres] of the race to help me cross the line because I know he is there." (fina.org, 22 Mar 2022)
Hero / Idol
Her sister Taylor, Australian swimmer Emily Seebohm. (gc2018.com, 01 Oct 2017; amazonaws.com, 08 Apr 2018)
Injuries
In 2021 she tore the labrum in her shoulder during a gym session shortly before the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. She won four medals, including three golds, in Tokyo despite the injury. "Honestly it didn't affect my Olympics at all, I was in quite a bit of pain, especially the last two days heading into the 200m backstroke and the [4x100m medley] relay but there wasn't anything I could do to make it better, so there was no point complaining about it." (perthnow.com.au, 29 Nov 2021; swimmingworldmagazine.com, 28 Nov 2021; SportsDeskOnline, 08 Dec 2021)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Things happen for a reason." (swimming.org.au, 28 Jun 2019)
Awards and honours
She was named 2020 Female Swimmer of the Year and Oceanian Female Swimmer of the Year at the Swammy Awards. The awards are given by swimming news website SwimSwam. (swimswam.com, 15 Dec 2020)
Milestones
Her four medals at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was the most medals won by an Australian athlete in any sport at the 2018 edition of the Games. (SportsDeskOnline, 01 Nov 2020)
Famous relatives
Her older sister Taylor McKeown has represented Australia in swimming, and won a silver medal in the women's 4x100m medley relay at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (SportsDeskOnline, 01 Nov 2020)
Other information
CHANGE OF COACH
In 2021 she parted ways with coach Chris Mooney, who left the University of the Sunshine Coast [USC] Spartans team. After having trials with other coaches, she decided to remain at USC Spartans and train under Mick Palfrey, who replaced Mooney. "I finished off the [2020] Olympics and my coach [Mooney] told me the tough news that he was moving to the Gold Coast which is actually two hours away from where I was training at USC. He and I left things on really good terms obviously, he's taken me to the highest level pretty much any sport can get to, so there's never going to be bad blood there and he's said he's going to welcome me with open arms whenever, so that's also really good on his behalf. I've decided to stay on the Sunshine Coast, I'm nursing a bit of a shoulder injury at the moment [speaking in October 2021], so the best team for me is the people who know my body and that's been a huge part of my decision to stay there with Mick Palfrey." (perthnow.com.au, 29 Nov 2021; swimmingworldmagazine.com, 28 Nov 2021; SwimSwam YouTube channel, 15 Oct 2021; swimswam.com, 15 Oct 2021)

FAMILY LOSS
Her father Sholto died of brain cancer in 2020. "My dad was quite ill, in and out of hospital, and on August 13 he passed away. So that was really hard, but we knew it was coming. It was a hard pill to swallow, but it's made me realise how much life is worth living. I just take every day as it comes and I honestly think that's the main reason I'm swimming as well as I am. There's no point in wasting the opportunities that you have in life. My dad always said he would love to have seen us [she and sister Taylor] swim at the 2020 Olympics together. It's amazing, we would have been able to race at the Olympics if it had gone ahead [in 2020], then come home and be able to see him. He always wanted to see that and you never know what they are doing up above, whether or not he can see that. It's always in the back of my mind. That's something he wanted to see us achieve." She has a tattoo on her foot that reads 'I'll always be with you' in honour of her father. (The Unaffected Podcast YouTube channel, 08 Nov 2021; Instagram profile, 13 Aug 2021; sportingnews.com, 27 Jul 2021; au.sports.yahoo.com, 22 Jul 2021; smh.com.au, 21 Feb 2021; fina.org, 22 Mar 2022)

INSPIRATIONAL SISTER
She says she is inspired by her older sister Taylor, who won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. "I watched my sister's four-year preparation for getting that Olympic silver medal. It was nerve-wracking and exciting because you've seen all the hard work that she had done and put behind it. And I've really looked to that as motivation and determination to work hard at training, to get to the Olympics and do your country proud. So, I want to be as good as her and live up to those standards in a way." (olympic.org, 13 Oct 2020)

 Competition Highlights
Olympic Games
Rank Year Venue Event Result
1 2021 Tokyo, JPN 100m Backstroke 57.47
1 2021 Tokyo, JPN 200m Backstroke 2:04.68
1 2021 Tokyo, JPN 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:51.60
3 2021 Tokyo, JPN 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:38.95
World Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
5 2022 Budapest, HUN 50m Backstroke 27.47
2 2022 Budapest, HUN 200m Individual Medley 2:08.57
1 2022 Budapest, HUN 200m Backstroke 2:05.08
Heats 2022 Budapest, HUN 100m Backstroke  DNS
2 2022 Budapest, HUN 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:54.25
2 2022 Budapest, HUN 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:41.34
4 2019 Gwangju, KOR 50m Backstroke 27.65
2 2019 Gwangju, KOR 200m Backstroke 2:06.26
5 2019 Gwangju, KOR 100m Backstroke 59.10
2 2019 Gwangju, KOR 4 x 100m Medley Relay  
Heats 2017 Budapest, HUN 400m Individual Medley 4:43.61
4 2017 Budapest, HUN 200m Backstroke 2:06.76
2 2017 Budapest, HUN 4 x 100m Medley Relay  
World Cup
Rank Year Venue Event Result
2 2019 Doha, QAT 50m Backstroke 27.92
3 2019 Doha, QAT 100m Backstroke 59.60
2 2019 Doha, QAT 200m Backstroke 2:08.56
5 2019 Kazan, RUS 50m Backstroke 28.17
1 2019 Kazan, RUS 100m Backstroke 59.25
6 2019 Kazan, RUS 200m Breaststroke 2:31.42
1 2019 Kazan, RUS 200m Backstroke 2:07.92
2 2019 Kazan, RUS 200m Individual Medley 2:13.04