Aussie swimming superstar Emma McKeon to stick with proven formula for Commonwealth Games

Australia’s most decorated Olympian Emma McKeon intends on repeating her Tokyo program at the next Commonwealth Games. But Birmingham presents her with a real advantage.

Australia’s most successful Olympian Emma McKeon at North Wollongong Beach. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Australia’s most successful Olympian Emma McKeon at North Wollongong Beach. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Olympic swimming legend Emma McKeon’s insatiable appetite for medals will see her repeat her Tokyo program at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next year.

Not even the great Michael Phelps, the greatest swimmer of all time, repeated the program that delivered him a record eight golds in Beijing.

However, McKeon — who turns 28 next year — said she liked “hard work” and refused to compromise her workload.

Simply the best: Emma McKeon (right) wins gold in the women's 100m freestyle final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Picture: Adam Head
Simply the best: Emma McKeon (right) wins gold in the women's 100m freestyle final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Picture: Adam Head

It was a workload that saw her compete in every session in Tokyo but also swim away with seven medals — four gold, three bronze and the title of Australia’s most decorated Olympian.

Speaking from the family holiday home at Lake Conjola in NSW, McKeon said she was taking the next two months off before launching her World Championships and Birmingham campaign.

“Looking back … it was a lot … it was crazy … 90 races cross Olympics, ISL (International Swimming League) and World Cups,” she said.

“I won’t get back in the water now until next year but I know I don’t want to drop any of my events.

Australia’s most successful Olympian takes time out at North Wollongong Beach. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Australia’s most successful Olympian takes time out at North Wollongong Beach. Picture: Jonathan Ng

“I like having a big program so I will keep doing it. I raced every day in Tokyo — all up it was 13 races … but I also work with a sport psychologist and that has helped me a lot — she prepared me for what was coming up at the Games and my workload.

“We worked through a lot of scenarios and ‘what ifs’ and I was prepared … and I felt unwavering that nothing was going to get in my road.

“And I know I can do the work again and repeat the program.

“There is not one event I want to stop and I enjoy training for them all … and it seems to work for me OK.”

McKeon will resume serious training for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games next year. Picture: Jonathan Ng
McKeon will resume serious training for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games next year. Picture: Jonathan Ng

In the no nonsense superstar’s favour is that there will be no semi-finals in Birmingham, just heats and then straight finals.

And while many of Australia’s swimmers have returned to the pool, McKeon is happy to escape the grind of choline and schedules.

“The last time I had a proper break was after the 2016 Olympics and I took three months off and I went travelling.

“Swimming is a hard sport anyway with the volume of training we do … I genuinely like hard work so it doesn’t bother me to come back from a long break.”

The ironwoman of the pool also has deep ties with the surf community and is an ambassador for Surf Lifesaving Australia’s new beach safety campaign that will see a QR code on every Nutri-Grain pack.

Her pop was a founding member of South Maroubra Surf Life Saving Club and McKeon explained that the QR code will link through BeachSafe.org.au website that alerts people to their closest patrolled beach.

Selina Steele
Selina SteeleSenior Writer

Selina Steele is a award-winning sports writer and news reporter, with more than 25 years experience. Highlights include Olympic Games, Rugby World Cup, Ashes Series and AFL Grand FInals. She has also managed Federal elections, Royal weddings and international terror attacks.

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