Kaylee McKeown Opts to Drop 200 Medley From Program; Will Focus on Backstroke Events
In a surprising development on Thursday, Australian coach Rohan Taylor revealed that Kaylee McKeown has decided to drop the 200-meter individual medley from her program at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The decision by McKeown allows the young star to focus on the 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke, events in which she is the favorite for the gold medal.
The top seed in both backstroke events, McKeown was also the top seed in the 200 medley, but she has determined contesting that event is not worth jeopardizing her pursuit of Olympic crowns in the backstroke events. For many athletes, schedule management is a key element of the Olympic Games, and McKeown was clearly not willing to overload her program.
“It’s a big call,” Taylor said. “And I respect the decision. They’re going to focus on the backstrokes and the medley relay.”
McKeown was one of the stars of the Australian Olympic Trials, where she won her three individual events, the 100 backstroke producing a world record of 57.45. In that events, McKeown will battle a stacked field that also includes American Regan Smith, the former world-record holder, and Canadian Kylie Masse, who has also been sub-58 this season.