ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — Swimmer Kaylee McKeown says the death of her father 10 months ago inspired her to break the 100-meter backstroke world record on Sunday at the Australian Olympic trials.
The 19-year-old McKeown had a time of 57.45 seconds at the South Australian Aquatic Centre to improve on the previous mark of 57.57 set by American Regan Smith in 2019.
McKeown last month set a then-Commonwealth and Australian record of 57.63. Just before Sunday’s final, her coach Chris Mooney signaled the world record was a target.
McKeown’s record sets up a highly anticipated showdown with American star Smith at next month’s Tokyo Olympics.
“It’s just whoever comes up on the day, you never know what can happen in five, six weeks’ time,” she said.
Emily Seebohm finished second in 58.59 qualifying for her fourth Olympics.