Pioneer of the
Australian Iron Ore

Queen of pool Emma now greatest of them all

Article by Julian Linden courtesy of the Australian.

All hail the Queen. Emma McKeon has broken the record for the most gold medals won at the Commonwealth Games.

No one should be surprised because the 28-year-old wonder woman of swimming is the best ever to wear the green and gold cossies.

These are different times – and modern-day swimmers get to compete in more events than their predecessors, but McKeon’s claim to greatness is indisputable.

She’s already eclipsed Dawn Fraser, and now she’s surpassed Ian Thorpe, Leisel Jones and Madame Butterfly Susie O’Neill by chalking up her 11th career gold with victory in Monday morning’s 50m freestyle final at Birmingham’s Aquatic Centre.

“It’s really nice to be mentioned alongside some of those names and just to be part of that history for years to come, hopefully,” McKeon said.

“They’re the ones that inspired me when I was young. I’ve been watching them on TV and that lit the fire in me.

“It is special. It kind of makes me reflect on the last eight years or something since my first Commonwealth Games.

“I can just kind of see how far I’ve come as a person and athlete, to be honest.

“I find it hard to be proud of myself at times, so that’s been something that I’ve struggled with, but it’s nice to be racing on this team.”

The 50m freestyle was one of the two individual events McKeon won at last year’s Tokyo Olympics, and in Birmingham she made a flying start off the blocks and left her rivals dead in the water as she surged clear to win in 23.99 seconds.

McKeon is already Australia’s most decorated Olympian with 11 medals in total, including five golds, but the Commonwealth Games record means just as much .

Her parents — Ron and Susie — met when they swam for Australia at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane 1982, and she swam alongside her brother David at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow when she first made the team in 2014.

Her family were unable to travel to Tokyo last year to see her amazing feats in person, but were in the stands in Birmingham.

“To have my family here means a lot and I know it was just as tough on them as it was on me last year,” she said.

McKeon pulled out of the Australian 4x200m freestyle relay that later broke the world record, sacrificing her chances to become the first Aussie to win nine medals at a single Commonwealth Games.

The 28-year-old is still entered in eight events and has won a medal in four, and has four to go.

If she wins three more medals, she will claim yet another record — the most by an any athlete at the Commonwealth Games. She can overhaul shooters Phillips Adams of Australia and Michael Gault of England, plus South African Chad le Clos, who chalked up his 18th medal in the 200m butterfly on Monday – falling short of becoming the first swimmer to win the same event four times.

“I haven’t done the maths,” McKeon said. 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.”