Kaylee McKeown Does it Again with Second World Record in Two Days in Budapest

Australia’s Kaylee McKeown pictured on her way to breaking her own World Record in the 100m backstroke, with a 57.33 on Saturday evening at the Duna Arena in Budapest, Hungary, on Sunday, 21 October, 2023. Photo: Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Kaylee McKeown set her second World Record in as many days in Budapest, Hungary, at the World Aquatics Swimming World Cup 2023’s final tour stop on Saturday, 21 October, 2023.

The 22-year-old of Australia broke her own World Record in the 100m backstroke with a 57.33 on Saturday evening at the Duna Arena in Budapest, 24 hours after she broke the 50m world record to hold all three backstroke World Records simultaneously, something no woman has achieved since the commencement of records keeping by the world federation.

McKeown had been knocking on the door all year on her world record she set in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics at 57.45, swimming under 58 seconds eight total times this year before today as she also won the World title at 57.53. 

The Australian champion has been unstoppable in the backstroke races since winning both the 100m and 200m in Tokyo, becoming the first woman to win the 50m, 100m, and 200m of the same stroke at the same World Aquatics Championships this year.

“No, I honestly didn’t think about swimming a world record,” McKeown said. 

“I was really relaxed coming into tonight. I tend to swim better when I go out a bit faster. I am trying to learn to swim a bit sharper. I am happy that some of the things we are trying are working. This is a good stepping stone for the future.”

Australia’s concurrent triple backstroke world record holder, Kaylee McKeown

McKeown, who is coached by Michael Bohl, turns her attention to Sunday 200m backstroke, where she holds the world record at 2:03.14. 

She also has a clear shot to win the women’s overall Swimming World Cup title as she currently has 157.8 points, while second place is held by Sarah Sjöström (148.4) and third by Hong Kong, China’s Siobhan Haughey (146.8).

“Don’t get in your own way, is the advice that my coach Michael Bohl gave me before the race,” McKeown said. “It’s a matter of trusting the process and applying it. I am not expecting anything in the 200 back, that’s a whole different ball game. I’m really excited with my performances.”

Sweden’s Sjöström had a hard-fought win in the 50m butterfly as she was challenged for all she was worth by China’s Zhang Yufei as the World Record holder touched at 25.21 to Zhang’s 25.23. 

It’s not the fastest either of them has swum this year or even during this World Cup, but it was the third straight weekend that they went head to head, with Sjöström winning each time, capturing the triple crown.

“It was good. It was not my best race in this tour but I managed to finish ahead of them, so I am happy with that. “It doesn’t matter which pool; I was racing these women for the crown. Other races, other pools, it doesn’t matter.” 

Sweden’s Sarah Sjöström, champion of Saturday’s 50m butterfly

“I have done the 50 fly a million times now, and I know that a lot of things can go wrong. But I know that even when I have a pretty bad race, I know that I can still swim fast. I try to have that in my mind when swimming the 50 fly the same with the 50 free,” said Sjöström. 

“My lowest level is still pretty high. I have swum this race so many time and I know how to win the race. I had a very, very, very bad start, so I was trying to relax. I was trying to catch her and I was just seeing what I could do, and catch her at the end. I knew that Zhang was a fast back end swimmer, but I caught her this time.

The two next go head-to-head in Sunday’s 100m butterfly, where Zhang is the heavy favourite as the triple crown potential, and the reigning World Champion. Zhang is currently fourth in the overall points standings at 146.6.

Hong Kong, China’s Siobhan Haughey took care of business for her third straight 200m freestyle win with a new World Cup record at 1:54.08, lowering the previous mark of 1:55.03 from last week in Athens. 

Her swim was just off her season best of 1:53.96 from the World Championships as this kind of speed could spell good things for her 100m freestyle tomorrow where she will also take aim at the world record of 51.71 set in this pool six years ago by Sjostrom.

“I am really happy with the time,” Haughey said. “Obviously a best time would be great because I have done a best time in all of the other races that I have swum. The 200 free is the event that I train for but that’s OK, I am sure my best time will come soon. I am really happy with all of the performances in the World Cup.”


Photo Caption: Australia’s Kaylee McKeown pictured on her way to breaking her own World Record in the 100m backstroke, with a 57.33 on Saturday evening at the Duna Arena in Budapest, Hungary, on Sunday, 21 October, 2023. Photo: Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Original Copy: Andy Ross, World Aquatics Correspondent

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