Emma McKeon
Emma McKeon Matt King

Swimmer Emma McKeon back to her best at Grand Prix

EMMA McKeon has well and truly moved on from her disappointment at last year's Pan Pacs, declaring she can swim some personal bests at the coming world championships in Russia.

The 21-year-old had an outstanding Commonwealth Games campaign in Glasgow last year, taking home five medals - three gold and two bronze.

But she was brought down to Earth just a few weeks later, missing the podium in her individual events - the 100m butterfly, 200m freestyle, and 100m freestyle - at the Pan Pacs on the Gold Coast.

With the world championships just around the corner, McKeon showed she was back to her best at the recent Swimming Australia Grand Prix meet in Townsville.

A night after winning gold in the 200m freestyle in 1 min 57.76 seconds, she came out in the 400m final and turned at the half-way mark in 1:56.15, a top-eight time in the world this year.

She already has the third-best time of 1:55.88, and the performances in Townsville convinced her to aim even higher in Kazan.

"I want to swim some PBs," McKeon told APN.

"You always want to look for areas you can improve in - that keeps you motivated."

Recently switching from coach Vince Raleigh at Chandler, and moving across Brisbane to join Michael Bohl's squad at St Peters Western was a decision McKeon said she made to keep her fresh as she searches for that continual improvement.

It would have been a difficult decision - it means she no longer trains alongside her older brother David - one of Australia's best in the 200m and 400m freestyle.

Bohl's squad is one of the strongest in the country, with butterflyer Maddie Groves and backstrokers Mitch Larkin and Madison Wilson all potential medal contenders at the world titles.

Complicating matters is the fact that McKeon swims the same events as at least three of her new training partners, including Groves, Bronte Barratt and Brittany Elmslie.

But she said that could hold the key to getting the best out of herself.

"Michael's been doing that most of his career with the big squads he's coached," McKeon said.

"I like it - it pushes you more and it gives you someone to chase."


Emma McKeon's father Ron competed for Australia at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow and again in 1984 at the Los Angeles Games. Her mother Susie (nee Woodhouse) was a member of the Australian team at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane.

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