The superstar of Australian Swimming has broken the record for the most Commonwealth Games gold medals of all-time.
The now 11-time Commonwealth Games Gold medallist, Emma McKeon has swum her way into the history books, with her victory in the women’s 50m freestyle final taking her past legends of the sport Susie O’Neill, Ian Thorpe and Leisel Jones into sole possession as Australia’s most decorated Commonwealth Games Australian athlete.
After collecting gold on night one of the swimming program at the Sandwell Aquatic Centre, anchoring the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay to glory, McKeon stormed home in the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay on Saturday night to win her second gold of the meet, before breaking the record with victory in the women’s 50m freestyle on night 3.
Speaking to fellow champion of the pool Cate Campbell following her record-breaking swim, the humble record breaker spoke of her hard work paying off and the benefits of having her family in attendance for the momentous occasion.
“I just get in there and do my best. I take each race one at a time, obviously when I get in there I want to win. I feel like I’m a lot more relaxed here than last year, a lot happier,” McKeon told Channel 7 post-race.
“I haven’t done as much work as I had this time last year but the place I’m in mentally is kind of showing in my performances.
“It’s so nice to have (my family) here. It’s really nice to have mum and dad here to be able to celebrate these kinds of moments with them.
“It was just as tough on them as it was on me not having them last year so it’s nice I can share this with them.”
The ground-breaking victory sees McKeon overtake the champions Ian Thorpe, Susie O’Neill and Leisel Jones, who previously held the Australian record of 10 Commonwealth Games gold medals until tonight.
Despite her record-breaking achievement, McKeon remains a modest champion, telling reporters in Birmingham that she doesn’t focus on records but instead sees the incredible feat as a steppingstone.
“I haven’t done the maths,” McKeon said.
“I don’t read the news that you guys write.
“I’m not looking at medal tallies … I’m not setting out to break any of that. Just do my best and see what I’m capable of.”
McKeon’s feats in the pool are now the stuff of legend in Australian sport.
Her achievements add to the incredible McKeon and Woodhouse family legacy that she is a part of.
Brother David McKeon is a two-time Olympian and two-time Commonwealth Games representative, collecting two Commonwealth Games golds and a silver from the Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 Games.
The sibling’s father Ron McKeon was a two-time Olympian in his own right, competing at the Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympics.
Mother, Susie McKeon (nee Woodhouse) competed at the Brisbane 1982 Commonwealth Games, finishing fifth in the 200m butterfly final.
Uncle Rob Woodhouse, a two-time Olympian, and a three-time Commonwealth Games silver medallist from three editions of the Games.
It has been quite a journey for McKeon after bursting onto the scene as a 20-year-old at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games winning six medals including four golds in the women’s 200m freestyle and as part of Australia’s relay teams.
She repeated the six medal haul at the Gold Coast 2018 Games, adding four golds, including the women’s 100m butterfly crown to her illustrious resume.
Now she has elevated herself into the pantheon of Commonwealth Sport.
McKeon’s latest milestone comes less than a year after the super fish became Australia’s most successful Olympian winning seven medals, including four golds, becoming just the fourth swimmer and first female swimmer in history to win seven or more Olympic medals at a single Olympic Games.
McKeon isn’t stopping with tonight’s record, she will also aim to swim into uncharted waterers and break one of swimming’s untouchable milestones, chasing an unprecedented nine medals at one meet, even overtaking Michael Phelps.
A possible record that hasn’t been achieved at an Olympics, world championships, Commonwealth Games, Pan Pacific championships or continental meets like the European and Asian Championships.
With four medals already at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and with five events remaining on her packed program, McKeon has put herself in the position to challenge shooters Phillip Adams from Australia and Mick Gault for England for the most Commonwealth Games medals of all-time, each has 18.
McKeon’s current tally now has reached 16 career medals.