Kaylee McKeown smashes Olympic record to claim gold for Australia

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Pictured here, Kaylee McKeown reacts after claiming gold in the women's 100m backstroke.
Kaylee McKeown claimed gold in a new Olympic Record time in the women's 100m backstroke. Pic: Getty/Ch7

Kaylee McKeown has made it two individual gold medals in consecutive days for Australia's women in the pool after breaking the Olympic record in the final of the 100m backstroke.

The Aussie took gold from Canada's Kylie Masse and American Regan Smith with a stunning time of 57.47 seconds.

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Emily Seebohm capped off a memorable race for the Aussies after finishing in fifth place.

The final was set up for an epic showdown with four Olympic Records being broken by three swimmers in the preliminary rounds.

Masse set an Olympic record in her heat and, minutes later, American Smith bettered that.

The 20-year-old McKeown eclipsed them both with a fresh Games benchmark of 57.88 seconds, before Smith lowered it again in the semi-finals with a 57.86.

But McKeown - who set the world record during the Australian swim trials - delivered when it mattered most.

The Australian trailed her feted rivals at the last turn before a stunning surge in the final 30 metres delivered victory.

McKeown triumphed in 57.47 seconds, with Masse (57.72) taking silver and Smith (58.05) the bronze.

The Aussie's extraordinary swim - one day after Ariarne Titmus' gold medal in the 400m freestyle - left fans ecstatic on social media.

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Kaylee McKeown powers home for epic gold

McKeown's triumph is Australia's third gold of the Games, following the women's 4x100m freestyle relay and Titmus' 400m freestyle win on Monday.

McKeown entered Tuesday's final as world record holder but third-fastest qualifier behind Smith and Masse.

Kaylee McKeown is seen here celebrating her gold in the women's 100m backstroke.
Kaylee McKeown reacts after winning gold in the women's 100m backstroke. Pic: Getty

Australian veteran Seebohm, at her fourth Olympics, finished fifth in 58.45.

McKeown will again meet Smith over 200m, with the Australian dropping the 200m individual medley from her program to focus on backstroke.

Her triumph comes against a backdrop of family tragedy, with her father losing his battle against brain cancer last August.

The 20-year-old swimmer dedicated her world record at Australia's selection trials to her father.

"I use it every day that I wake up," McKeown said at the June trials.

"I know it's a privilege to be on this earth and walk and talk."

Watch 'Mind Games', the new series from Yahoo Sport Australia exploring the often brutal mental toil elite athletes go through in pursuit of greatness:

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