Kaylee McKeown stuns in never-before seen slice of Australian swimming history

McKeown took down an Aussie swimming great's epic feat from 2009.

Kaylee McKeown has powered her way into Aussie swimming history after smashing Stephanie Rice's long-standing national record in the 200m individual medley. On the same night Mollie O'Callaghan also sent a warning to her Olympic Games rivals by beating a star-studded field in the 100m freestyle at the Australian swimming championships on the Gold Coast, McKeown took down Rice's 15-year-old record in style.

McKeown is the 200m backstroke world record-holder but the 22-year-old proved she's also going to take some beating in the 200IM at the Paris Games after smashing the Aussie record that Rice set in 2009. McKeown touched the wall in 2:06.99 to better Rice's mark of 2:07.03 - with both swimmers coached by Michael Bohl.

Pictured here, Aussie swimming sensation Kaylee McKeown setting a new Australian record in the 200IM.
Kaylee McKeown set a new Australian record in the 200IM after breaking the previous mark set by Stephanie Rice in 2009. Pic: Getty/X

McKeown said after the race that she was keen to compete in both the backstroke and IM double at the Games, having skipped the latter in Tokyo to focus purely on backstroke. "It feels pretty good to dip under 2:07," the 22-year-old told Channel Nine. "I'm absolutely up for the challenge (of swimming both) ... it will be hard, but I feel like I'm putting myself in a good position to test myself and do the best I can."

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The 22-year-old's time saw her become the fifth fastest performer in the history of the 200IM and only the fifth swimmer to break 2:07.00 in the event. The stunning display left swimming fans in awe on social media.

Mollie O'Callaghan beats strong field in 100m freestyle

O'Callaghan also provided another stunning highlight on the Gold Coast after relegating Australia's most decorated Olympian Emma McKeon to third in the 100m freestyle. The final incredibly featured five of the fastest female swimmers of all time over 100m and O'Callaghan powered home in 52.27 seconds to claim victory over Meg Harris in 52.59, with McKeon third in 53.09.

The national titles feature the country's elite, but have no bearing on Olympic selection, with the trials for the Paris Games to be held in early June in Brisbane. But it was an extraordinary performance from O'Callaghan, who is looming as a strong medal contender for the Paris Games.

Despite O'Callaghan's time putting her easily inside the Australian qualifying mark for Paris of 53.61, O'Callaghan was disappointed. Shayna Jack, in fourth, was also inside the required time. "It's a pretty good time ... I would have liked faster," said 20-year-old O'Callaghan, whose cap slipped in the second lap. "But there's plenty more things I've got to improve."

Seen here, Aussie swimmer Mollie O'Callaghan.
Mollie O'Callaghan beat a star-studded field to win the 100m freestyle. Pic: Getty

Elsewhere, Elijah Winnington (3:41.41) and Sam Short (3:41.64) both posted blistering times in the men's 400m freestyle to finish well ahead of reigning world champion, Korean Kim Woomin (3:45.12). Zac Stubblety-Cook (59.85) defended his national title in the men's 100m breaststroke, with the reigning Olympic 200m champion the only swimmer to go under one minute.

Kyle Chalmers set a new personal best of 23.10 to claim victory in the men's 50m butterfly, while two-time Olympic gold medallist Ariarne Titmus got the better of Lani Pallister in what proved to be a two-horse race in the 800m freestyle. Titmus, who won silver in the event in Tokyo behind American legend Katie Ledecky, clocked 8:17.08 to defend her national title, with Pallister less than two seconds behind.

with AAP