From the age of nine years, Olympic Silver Medalist Taylor McKeown has been like a fish in water, begging her parents to let her join the swimming club. Although she dabbled in other hobbies such as piano, softball, dance and tennis — even going to state in some cases, it was always swimming that kept drawing her attention and focus.
“I AM NATURALLY A COMPETITIVE PERSON SO EVERY SPORT I TRIED THAT I WASN’T GOOD AT JUST MEANT THAT I HAD TO TRY AGAIN AT SOMETHING ELSE“
– TAYLOR MCKEOWN
In 2009, at age 14, Taylor made her first appearance at a national swimming event. A little overwhelmed because of nerves, she swam poorly and took 17th place overall. Nevertheless, in true Taylor spirit, she returned triumphantly the following year and took Gold in the 100 and 200m Breaststroke, and Bronze in the 200m Individual Medley.
With these results, Taylor made her debut at an international meet, going on to represent both Queensland and Australia later that year.
In her first attempt at making the Olympic team, Taylor placed third in the 200m Breaststroke at the 2012 Australian Open Championships (London Olympic qualifying meet) and missed out on the Australian Olympic team by a mere 0.3 seconds.
Again, proving her resilience, Taylor remained focused on her swimming until the dedication paid off. In 2013, Taylor attended the US Open as part of the ‘Australia-A’ team and swam a 2 second PB placing her 6th in the FINA World Rankings.
It was a triumphant year for the young swimmer. She won the 200m Breaststroke at the 2014 BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series in Perth — robbing her competitors from Japan, China, South Africa and Brazil of their chance to hold the Gold.
Taylor swam to the attention of the Australian public and media when she made her way into the top 4 FINA World Rankings for the Women’s 200m Breaststroke at the 2014 Australian Swimming Championships in Brisbane. It secured her place on the 2014 Commonwealth Games Team in Glasgow, where took Gold in the Women’s 200m Breaststroke.
After Glasgow came the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships and a Bronze in the 200m Breaststroke. Impressively, this was the third time in one year that Taylor had swum in the 2 minutes, 22 seconds range.
“WINNING THE 200M BREASTSTROKE IN GLASGOW WAS THE MOST INCREDIBLE FEELING IN THE WORLD.” -TAYLOR MCKEOWN
Taylor McKeown ensured she would make her Olympic debut in Rio after she finished second behind Georgia Bohl in the 100m breaststroke. McKeown finished in a personal best time of 1:06.68, 0.56 seconds behind Bohl, which makes her the fifth fastest Australian woman of all time in the event.
McKeown then swan an exceptional 200m breaststroke to turn the tide on Bohl and qualify for a second event at the 2016 Games in a personal best time of 2:21.45. Only four-time Olympian Leisel Jones has swum faster time in the event.
Making her Commonwealth Games debut in Glasgow in 2014, McKeown did not disappoint. She progressed through to the 200m breaststroke final as the third fastest qualifier before claiming gold ahead of Australian teammate Sally Hunter with a time of 2:22.36.
She missed the final of the 100m breaststroke by just 0.08 seconds at the 2015 World Championships, finishing ninth. She also missed the final of the 200m breaststroke by just over a second after also making the semi-finals.
This year Mckeown won the Silver Medal in the 4x100m medley relay in the Rio Olympics.
McKeown is currently studying a Bachelor of Science majoring in Wildlife Biology at Griffith University.