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McKeon makes bold Rio statement

  • McKeon makes bold Rio statement

    Emma McKeon is full of confidence after setting a Commonwealth record at the Rio swimming trials.

Once shy and anxious, Emma McKeon says she is now full of confidence ahead of the Olympics after setting a Commonwealth record at the Rio swimming trials in Adelaide.

While still softly spoken, McKeon made a bold statement in the 200m freestyle final that will make even American great Katie Ledecky sit up and take notice.

McKeon broke her own Commonwealth record by clocking one minute, 54.83 seconds to take 200m gold on Sunday night.

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It would have pipped Ledecky for 200m gold at the 2015 world titles.

And it was the first time she had broken the one minute, 55 second barrier - placing her amongst the world's 200m elite ahead of Rio.

McKeon's time sits between world No.1 Ledecky (1:54.43) and Swedish great Sarah Sjostrom (1:54.87) in the 2016 200m standings.

"I am thrilled and relieved," McKeon said.

"I wanted to get a 1:54 done leading into the rest of the year - the rest of the girls are doing them.

"Now I have done one it gives me confidence."

The beaming McKeon seen pool-side at Adelaide has been in stark contrast to her last sighting on the international stage.

As an unstoppable Ledecky won five gold and broke three world records, McKeon was left in tears at the 2015 world titles in Russia.

She just missed the 100m butterfly podium and finished seventh in the 200m freestyle.

Now her coach Michael Bohl believes McKeon is on track to keep even the great Ledecky honest at Rio.

"Katie is on the rise but she (McKeon) is not too far away, getting closer and closer," he said.

"They (US) are certainly the team to beat but you don't give up.

"She (McKeon) puts a lot of pressure on herself to perform well but at meets it is not about how you feel it's how you race.

"That's the message I have been trying to get through to Emma - she is coming around well."

McKeon sounded her intentions at last month's NSW titles when she took 0.01sec off the Commonwealth record set by Briton Joanne Jackson in the 2009 supersuit era.

McKeon had already made the Rio team by winning 100m butterfly gold at Adelaide, joining sibling David.

They are the first brother-sister act in an Australian Olympic swim team since John and Ilsa Konrads qualified for the 1960 Rome Games.

Their father and former coach Ron (1980, 1984) and uncle Rob Woodhouse (1984, 1988) also contested two Games.

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