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David MCKEON
Sport Swimming
NOC Australia   
GenderMen
Born25 Jul 1992 in Wollongong, AUS
Height1.95 m
 Human Interest 
Further Personal Information
Residence
Gold Coast, QLD, AUS
Occupation
Coach
Languages
English
Higher education
Health Studies - University of Wollongong: Australia
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He began swimming at a young age but gave up the sport at about age 10. He started swimming again at age 17.
Why this sport?
He was inspired to take up swimming again after seeing his sister Emma represent Australia in the sport. "There was a bet between me and my sister about who could swim 400m in the fastest time. I hadn't done any swimming in a long time and the rest of the family thought I was crazy. So I did a little bit of swimming leading up to it with my dad, and I ended up smashing his best time by 10 seconds. So, that's pretty much how I got started and getting into swimming."
International Debut
Year
2011
Competing for
Australia
General Interest
Nicknames
Dave (olympics.com.au, 18 Mar 2012)
Memorable sporting achievement
Competing at the Olympic Games in 2012 and 2016. (The Physical Performance Show YouTube channel, 25 Oct 2018)
Most influential person in career
His family. (The Physical Performance Show YouTube channel, 25 Oct 2018)
Hero / Idol
Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe, US swimmer Ryan Lochte. (olympics.com.au, 2012; waxxindustries.com.au, 2012)
Injuries
He underwent right shoulder surgery in August 2018. He had been dealing with the injury since October 2017, and it forced him to withdraw from the 2018 Australian Pan Pacific Championships Trials in Oaklands Park, SA, Australia, and the 4x200m freestyle event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, QLD, Australia. (swimswam.com, 14 Aug 2018; Twitter profile, 04 Aug 2018; swimswam.com, 30 Jun 2018)
Famous relatives
His younger sister Emma has also represented Australia in swimming, and won four gold medals at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. His father Ron represented Australia in swimming at the Olympic Games in 1980 and 1984, and won four Commonwealth Games gold medals. His mother Susie was a Commonwealth Games swimmer, and his maternal uncle Rob Woodhouse won bronze in the 400m individual medley at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. (SportsDeskOnline, 02 Sep 2021; swimvortex.com, 19 May 2015; illawarramercury.com.au, 20 Mar 2012; olympics.com.au, 16 Mar 2012)
Other information
RETIREMENT
In January 2021 he announced his retirement from competitive swimming. "This isn't a goodbye to swimming by any means, this is just the start of a new chapter in my journey." (McKeon's Swim School Facebook page, 16 Jul 2021; swimmingworldmagazine.com, 07 Jan 2021; Facebook page, 07 Jan 2021)

STOLEN FLAG
In 2021 he spoke about how he became a custodian of an official Olympic Games flag that was stolen by his great uncle Peter from Rome during the 1960 Games. Peter first gave the flag to McKeon's uncle Rob Woodhouse, who won bronze in the 400m individual medley at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. McKeon inherited the flag when he competed at the 2012 Games in London and it has since been signed by Australian Olympic gold medallists. "My great uncle climbed a flag pole near the Olympic stadium during the 1960 Rome Olympics. Since then it's been signed by Olympic gold medallists. My mum's uncle Peter handed it to his nephew, then Rob handed it to me being his nephew, so maybe it's another generation away. It might have to go to a nephew." (abc.net.au, 07 Aug 2021; Facebook page, 29 Jul 2021)

BUSHFIRES
His family's house in Lake Conjola in New South Wales was affected by the 2019 bushfires in Australia. He arranged swim clinics to help people affected by the fires, and recruited Australian swimmers such as Ian Thorpe and Kate Campbell to take part. The project raised 17,500 Australian dollars. "This idea came to my head, and I have run a clinic before. This is my background, this is what I know. I started to get some athletes on board and I am proud of the calibre of those that we were able to pull." (abc.net.au, 09 Feb 2020; Facebook profile, 10 Feb 2020)

COACHING
He runs swimming clinics at his family's swim club, McKeon's Swim School, in Unanderra, NSW, Australia. In March 2021 he began working as a swimming coach at Cranbrook School in Australia. (Instagram profile, 07 Feb 2022; LinkedIn profile, 01 Feb 2022; McKeon Swim School Instagram page, 29 Aug 2018; mckeonswimming.com.au, 01 May 2018)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
In 2018 he joined the Olympics Unleashed, a programme arranged by the Australian Olympic Committee and Optus to take Olympians into Australian schools to inspire and motivate students. "Olympics Unleashed has been an amazing programme to be a part of. It's really special to be able to share my experiences with students firsthand, and I really feed off their energy and reactions. This is an opportunity I didn't have at my school when I was growing up, and I'm thankful we get to share this right around the state. I like sharing with students that it doesn't matter if you're not the best at something when you're young, you shouldn't be put off or afraid to try new activities. I was never the best swimmer growing up, but if you can try new things and do it for the enjoyment, you'll discover your passions and find goals you want to chase." (olympics.com.au, 28 Oct 2020)

 Competition Highlights
Olympic Games
Rank Year Venue Event Result
Heats 2016 Rio de Janeiro, BRA 200m Freestyle 1:48.38
7 2016 Rio de Janeiro, BRA 400m Freestyle 3:45.28
4 2016 Rio de Janeiro, BRA 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay 7:04.18
14 2012 London, ENG 400m Freestyle 3:48.57
5 2012 London, ENG 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay  
World Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
8 2017 Budapest, HUN 400m Freestyle 3:46.27
4 2017 Budapest, HUN 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay  
Heats 2015 Kazan, RUS 400m Freestyle 3:47.36
Semifinal 2015 Kazan, RUS 200m Freestyle 1:47.60
3 2015 Kazan, RUS 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay 7:05.34
Heats 2013 Barcelona, ESP 400m Freestyle 3:49.51
Heats 2013 Barcelona, ESP 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay 7:13.52
World Cup Short Course
Rank Year Venue Event Result
47 2014   Overall  
1 2014 Singapore, SGP 400m Freestyle 3:38.54
4 2014 Tokyo, JPN 400m Freestyle 3:41.48
7 2013 Eindhoven, NED 400m Freestyle 3:45.42
31 2011   Overall  
1 2011 Singapore, SGP 1500m Freestyle 14:56.90
1 2011 Singapore, SGP 400m Freestyle 3:42.82