Swimming 2023: Kaylee McKeown breaks 50m backstroke world record at Budapest World Cup, completes WR treble, time

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Kaylee McKeown has written herself into swimming’s history books, breaking another world record to complete a rare treble.

The 22-year-old Aussie broke the 50m backstroke world record at the World Cup swimming meet in Budapest in a time of 26.86 seconds.

After giving the mark a scare at the previous meet in Berlin, McKeown became just the second swimmer to dip under 27 seconds, shaving 0.12sec off the previous record set by China’s Liu Xiang in 2018.

Renowned for her X-rated celebration after winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics, McKeown looked genuinely shocked after she touched the wall and realised she had broken the record.

It means McKeown now holds the world records in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke — a remarkable feat that cements her status as the undisputed queen of backstroke.

She also holds the 200m backstroke short course world record.

She is just the second swimmer to hold all three backstroke world records after American Lenny Krayzelburg broke the 50-100-200 treble at the 1999 Pan Pacific Championships.

McKeown is the second woman to hold world records in every event of one stroke after South Africa’s Penny Heyns held the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke records in the 1990s and 2000s.

McKeown won gold in the 100m and 200m backstroke in Tokyo, and will be favoured to repeat that double at next year’s Paris Olympics.

She won both those events as well as the 50m backstroke at this year’s world championships in Japan, holding off American rival Regan Smith.

Like an disputed boxing champion, McKeown is currently the world long course and short course champion, Commonwealth Games champion and world record holder in her pet events.

McKeown is nominated for World Aquatics Female Swimmer of the Year, along with fellow Aussie Mollie O’Callaghan and Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom.

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