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Sport McKeon destined for greatness in the pool

07:27  31 july  2021
07:27  31 july  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

Relay record gives Australia gold at pool

  Relay record gives Australia gold at pool Australia's swim team collected medals of each colour - gold, silver and bronze - from the opening finals session at the Tokyo Olympics.The women's 4x100m freestyle relay team set a world record in Sunday's final to triumph at a third Olympics in a row.

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a woman sitting at a table with a racket: Emma McKeon is on the verge of setting an Australian record for winning the most Olympic medals. © Joe Giddens/AAP PHOTOS Emma McKeon is on the verge of setting an Australian record for winning the most Olympic medals.

The daughter of elite swimmers who owned a pool school, Emma McKeon's childhood fate was decided.

"Playing in the pool," says McKeon, who now shares Australia's record for most Olympic medals, nine, with Ian Thorpe and Leisel Jones.

"My parents have got a swim school so from a young age they were running that and me, my brother and sister would always just be playing in the pool while they were working."

McKeon's bronze medal in the 4x100 mixed medley relay at the Tokyo Games on Saturday takes her Olympic collection to three gold, two silver and four bronze.

Emma McKeon claims gold in Women's 100m freestyle, Cate Campbell takes bronze

  Emma McKeon claims gold in Women's 100m freestyle, Cate Campbell takes bronze Emma McKeon claims gold in Women's 100m freestyle, Cate Campbell takes bronzeIt's the first time Australia has had two medallists in the Women's 100m freestyle since Melbourne 1956.

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Thorpe won five gold, three silver and a bronze; Jones three gold, five silver and a bronze.

McKeon on Sunday has the chance to become the first Australian to win 10 Olympic career medals - and the first to win six medals at a single Games.

The 27-year-old is favourite in 50m freestyle final - she set an Olympic record in a semi-final to be fastest qualifier for the medal race.

But as a teen, McKeon was almost lost to the sport, quitting.

"As I got a bit older I started to put a bit too much pressure on myself and lost my enjoyment for it pretty quickly," she said after her 100m freestyle victory in Tokyo

"They are all things you have to go through as a teenager coming through swimming."

After the temporary split, McKeon returned and has been a fixture on Australia's swim team since the 2013 world championships.

McKeon sets Olympic record in 50 free

  McKeon sets Olympic record in 50 free Australian swimmer Emma McKeon's red-hot Tokyo Games has continued with an Olympic record in a heat of the 50-metres freestyle.McKeon's stunning 50m freestyle heat on Friday night came just hours after winning 100m freestyle gold, her fourth medal of the Games.

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Which, given her pedigree, shouldn't surprise.

Her father Ron was a dual Olympian, a freestyler who raced in five finals in 1980 and 1984.

Her mother Susie McKeon (nee Woodhouse) swam at the 1982 Commonwealth Games.

Her uncle Rob Woodhouse, a dual Olympian in 1984 and 1988, won a bronze medal in the 400-metres individual medley in '84.


Video: Ariarne Titmus lands gold in Olympics 400m women’s freestyle (9News.com.au)

Her older brother David is a dual Olympian, in 2012 and 2016, who made the 400m freestyle final in Rio.

McKeon, as an 18-year-old missed selection for the 2012 London Games but the next year won three silver medals at the world titles.

In 2014 she decided to leave the family in Wollongong and join esteemed coach Michael Bohl's program in Queensland.

In 2016 in Rio, Emma and David were the first brother and sister to swim at an Olympic Games for Australia since John and Ilsa Konrads in 1960.

Swimmer McKeon wins historic gold medal

  Swimmer McKeon wins historic gold medal Swimmer Emma McKeon has won gold in the 50-metres freestyle at the Tokyo Games to break Australia's record for most Olympic career medals. © Joe Giddens/AAP PHOTOS Emma McKeon has won 50m freestyle gold, setting a record for most Olympic medals by an Australian. McKeon's gold medal in Sunday's final takes her career tally to 10, surpassing the previous Australian benchmark of nine medals by Ian Thorpe and Leisel Jones.McKeon's victory also delivers Australian swimmers an eighth gold medal in Tokyo, equalling the nation's best haul at an Olympic pool from the 1956 Melbourne Games.

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McKeon left Rio as Australia's most successful athlete, winning one gold, two silver and a bronze.

At the 2017 world championships, she won four silver and two bronze,

The next year at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, McKeon claimed four gold and two bronze - equalling her previous record, set at the 2014 Commonwealths, and shared with Ian Thorpe and Susie O'Neill.

At the 2019 world titles, another medal harvest: three gold, two silver and a bronze.

But of McKeon's 17 world championship medals, only two silvers and a bronze weren't in relays.

And entering Tokyo, three of her four medals were in relays; the other was an individual bronze.

The lack of individual gold wasn't a burden, but somewhat of a bugbear.

"I never started to wonder or lose belief of anything like that," McKeon said after her 100m triumph.

"I definitely had belief in myself and that built over the last two years."

Only this year has McKeon surpassed Cate Campbell as Australia's fastest freestyler.

And only this year, has she won a precious international individual gold medal, the 100m freestyle in Tokyo.

And much of her improvement, at age 27, has come this year.

Bohl and McKeon looked at what was needed to squeeze more out of an athlete weighing just 67 kilograms.

"She is a very light athlete," Bohl said at Australia's Olympic selection trials in June.

"But the power to weight ratio is pretty good, so we have been trying to bridge that gap between those top girls' strength and her strength."

In January, Bohl told McKeon to focus on gym work. Her results since have been outstanding.

"We did a block in January of a month where she really got stuck into the gym and tried to focus more on her strength," Bohl said.

"We dropped the swimming down a little bit ... because when you're turning up to gym in a fatigued state from training, it's hard to get strength gains.

"So by dropping back ... she was turning up to gym with no depletion of the nervous system and a lot more energy and she was able to do a better job."

From family friend to super coach, Michael Bohl reflects on Emma McKeon's Olympic prowess .
Australia's most-decorated Olympian, multiple freestyle, butterfly and relay medallist Emma McKeon knew her coach Michael Bohl long before they began their training partnership.You will never catch Michael Bohl thrusting against a stadium rail in the manner of his protégé Dean Boxhall. But make no mistake, the coach to Australia's most-decorated Olympian is thrilled.

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