Aussie teenager breaks backstroke world record at Olympic trials

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Kaylee McKeown, pictured here after breaking the women's 100m backstroke world record.
Kaylee McKeown was overcome with emotion after breaking the women's 100m backstroke world record. Image: Twitter/Getty

Teenage Aussie swimmer Kaylee McKeown has broken the 100 metre backstroke world record at the Tokyo Olympics selection trials.

The 19-year-old clocked 57.45 seconds in Sunday night's final at the South Australian Aquatic Centre.

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The incredible time bettered the previous world record of 57.57, set by American Regan Smith in 2019.

McKeown was overcome with emotion after the race, which came exactly 10 months to the day since the tragic death of her father Sholto from brain cancer.

“I honestly can’t believe it,” the Queenslander said. 

“I just wanted to come in tonight and blow out the cobwebs and I did that.

Kaylee McKeown, pictured here after breaking the women's 100m backstroke word record at the Australian National Olympic Swimming Trials.
Kaylee McKeown looks on after breaking the women's 100m backstroke word record at the Australian National Olympic Swimming Trials. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

“It’s been a huge year for me and my family. I don’t mean to get emotional but it’s been 10 months since my dad passed today. 

"With that behind me and doing that tonight I think he would be very proud.”

Emily Seebohm finished second to qualify for her fourth Olympics, becoming just the second Australian swimmer after Leisel Jones to achieve that feat.

“Honestly I couldn’t have done it without the support of my program and my family," Seebohm said.

McKeown's remarkable performance sent the swimming world into a frenzy, with fans and commentators flocking to social media in disbelief.

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Mack Horton misses spot on Olympic team

Meanwhile, Mack Horton has failed to earn selection on Australia's team for Tokyo in the 400 metres freestyle - the event he won at the 2016 Olympics.

In a stunning final at the selection trials on Saturday night, Horton was among five swimmers to finish inside the qualifying time.

The top three clocked the fastest 400m freestyle times in the world this year.

But Horton finished third and only the top two - Elijah Winnington and Jack McLoughlin - secure selection.

"That's swimming," Horton said.

"I literally gave it everything. I'm very happy for the boys ... hopefully they can keep carrying the 400 legacy for Australia."

The 21-year-old Winnington said he had toppled his hero.

"I had a little moment with Mack after that race and I pretty much told him he's my hero," Winnington said.

"He's an incredible swimmer."

with AAP

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