Kaylee McKeown crowned new Olympic champion in 100m backstroke 

Kaylee McKeown of Team Australia competes in the Women's 100m Backstroke Semifinal on day three of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 26, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Kaylee McKeown of Team Australia competes in the Women's 100m Backstroke Semifinal on day three of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 26, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The Australian swimmer who holds the world record in the event broke new ground today by also setting a new Olympic record 

Australia's Kaylee McKeown won swimming gold in the women's 100m backstroke at Tokyo 2020 and also set a new Olympic record of 57.47 seconds.

It's been a closely-fought battle to the finish line against rivals Canada's Kylie Masse and USA's Regan Smith - who were also both strong contenders for gold and at one point also world record holders of the event - but in the end, it was McKeown who touched the wall first at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

This is the second swimming gold medal at Tokyo 2020 for Australia after the women's 4x100 freestyle relay team clinched gold last 25 July.

McKeown's time of 57.47 seconds was just off the world record mark she set this year of 57.45 at the Australian Olympic trials in June.

Of her Tokyo 2020 victory, McKeown told Australian TV Channel 7 after the competition: “It’s definitely something that people dream of. Something I have dreamed of to make it reality. I’m just thankful I have a good support team.”

McKeown also dedicated her victory to her father who passed away last year from cancer.

“To dad: I hope you’re proud and I keep doing you proud,” she said.

Masse claimed silver at 57.72 seconds whilst Smith took bronze at 58.43 seconds.

Coming into the Olympics, Australia had not an individual women’s title since 2008. Now they have two, with McKeown’s gold coming after Ariarne Titmus’ victory Monday in the 400 freestyle.

The AP contributed to this article

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