McKeown Wins 100m Backstroke Gold, Amending for Her 200m IM DQ.

Noah Strang
By:
Noah Strang
27/07/2023
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McKeown Rebounds from Individual Medley DQ to Win 100m Backstroke Gold.

Australia’s Kaylee McKeown won the world swimming championship 100m backstroke gold after being controversially disqualified from the 200m IM. 

News Insights

  • McKeown wins 100m backstroke gold.
  • She bounces back from her 200m IM DQ.
  • McKeown etches herself in the history books.
  • Her energy now focused on 50m and 200m backstroke events.

After Kaylee McKeown experienced what many believed to be an unfair disqualification in the 200m individual medley, there were questions about how the result would affect her other races. She answered those questions brilliantly by winning gold in the 100m backstroke, making history in the process. 

McKeown’s Bounce Back Gold Medal Swim

For Australia’s Kaylee McKeown the 2023 world swimming championships did not get off to the start that she and the country behind her had envisioned. 

She was controversially disqualified in her 200m IM semi-final heat due to what officials deemed to be an illegal turn. 

The disqualification was extremely disappointing for team Australia and McKeown as she had a chance at the podium in the event. 

A situation like that could certainly get inside the head of a swimmer and possibly affect their other races. Well, not for the great Kaylee McKeown. 

She showed her mental fortitude rebounding from that result to claim gold in electric fashion in the 100m backstroke final. 

McKeown and the reigning world champion, USA’s Regan Smith, went head-to-head throughout the whole race with McKeown eventually powering past the American to touch first. 

It was Smith who held a marginal lead at the turn, but McKeown’s endurance prevailed as she split a 29.50 over the final 50m compared to Smith’s 29.83. McKeown finished in first with a time of 57.53 which is a mere 0.08 seconds off her own world record. 

Smith touched a quarter of a second after the Aussie claiming silver in 57.78. Fellow American Katharine Berkoff rounded out the podium with a 58.25. 

The gold medal was Australia’s fifth of the championship after their record breaking four gold medal haul on opening night. 

Greatest of All Time?

For McKeown, the victory meant that she now holds the 100m backstroke titles from the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, and the world long and short course championships simultaneously. 

This is a feat that has never been accomplished before. Couple that with the fact that she is also the Olympic 200m backstroke champion and the world record holder in both the 100m and 200m, and many believe the Australian now lays claim to being the greatest backstroke swimmer of all time.  

As McKeown was about to touch the wall, Channel 9 commentator Mat Thompson stated: “She is the greatest we have seen. And she is the undisputed backstroke champion of the world.

Still Work to be Done

Despite the rollercoaster of emotions McKeown has gone through over the past few days, she must now turn her focus to the 50m and 200m events. 

McKeown made her way through the semifinals of the 50m backstroke with the fourth quickest time of 27.60. Ahead of her was Katharine Berkoff, Kylie Masse, and Regan Smith. 

All four have a solid chance at taking home gold. Berkoff has the fastest personal best of the group at 27.12, Canada’s Masse is the defending world champion, and Smith was the fastest qualifier. 

Smith’s 27.31 qualifying time was just 0.33 seconds off the world record. With the four women pushing each other in the final tonight it could certainly be in play. 

The pressure will be on McKeown in the 200m backstroke given her status as world record holder and the reigning world and Olympic champion. The 200m final should set up another great battle between McKeown and Regan Smith. 

Smith had previously held the world record in the event with a time of 2:03.35 set at the world championships in 2019. McKeown narrowly beat that mark just months ago clocking in at 2:03.14. 

Kaylee McKeown was able to shed off the disappointment of her 200m individual medley disqualification and turn in a phenomenal performance in the 100m backstroke final to claim the gold medal. With the win, she is now in the eyes of many the greatest backstroke swimmer of all time and still has more chances at these world championships to cement herself as such.