Olympics Latest: Redcliffe’s Kaylee McKeown Sets New Record

Queensland’s pride Kaylee McKeown secured a gold medal for Australia in the women’s 100-m backstroke final in her first Olympic Games foray, leaving everyone at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in awe of her record-breaking moment.

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Kaylee McKeown touched first with a time of 57.47 seconds, 0.02 seconds off her own world record. It was a close match against Canada’s Kylie Masse and USA’s Regan Smith, who finished with 57.72 seconds and 58.05 respectively. This win made her the first female in Australian history to win an Olympic gold medal in this event.


  • She was born in Redcliffe and went to school at St Paul’s Lutheran Primary in Caboolture
  • Kaylee now joins her sister Taylor as an Olympic medalist, who represented  Australia, and won 200m breaststroke gold at the 2015 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
  • She is coached by Chris Mooney, head coach of University of Sunshine Coast in Australia

McKeown’s gold medal is the second for Australia at Tokyo 2020, following the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay team’s victory on 25 July 2021. The team, formed by the quartet of Meg Harris, Emma McKeon, and sisters Bronte and Cate Campbell won with a record of 3.29.69, which is 0.36 seconds off their record in April 2018.

From L-R: Kylie Masse, Kaylee McKeown, and Regan Smith (Photo credit: Kaylee McGeown/Instagram)

Unique Training Cycles

Coach Chris Mooney and Mark McKean, head of physical performance at University of Sunshine Coast, designed and implemented their own training cycles, allowing McKeown and her teammates to work off a 17-day on, 4-day off schedule. 

This is an unusual cycle, because most swimmers will say that taking four days out of the pool is akin to sacrilege, as it only takes two days to lose their feel for the water. 

But the coaches applied traditional physiological science to a new structure that they believe gives them more time to implement their programme, and also ensures that the swimmers get adequate rest.

Big Inspiration

Born in Redcliffe but now living in Sunshine Coast, the 20-year-old swimming champ dedicated this victory to her late father Sholto McKeown who died of cancer in August 2020. The tattoo on her foot, bearing the words “I’ll always be with you” was in honour of her dad.

The Olympic Games being postponed due to Covid was a ‘blessing in disguise’ as they allowed her to spend time with her father before he died.

Whenever she gets up for her backstroke starts, McKeown would see her tattoo –a reminder that her father is always with him in every match. Her father was her big inspiration and used him in the last 50 of the race to help her cross the line, knowing he’s just there.