Australia’s Emma McKeon is the most successful athlete in Commonwealth Games history after winning the 50m freestyle gold medal in Birmingham.
The Wollongong wonder captured the 11th gold medal in her Commonwealth Games career with Sunday night’s triumph.
McKeon eclipses the previous record for most Commonwealth golds – 10 – by Australian swimmers Susie O’Neill, Ian Thorpe and Leisel Jones.
‘It’s really nice to be mentioned alongside some of those names and I will be part of that history for years to come, hopefully,’ McKeon said.
McKeon’s history-making gold rush could continue with the Aussie scheduled to compete in another four events in Birmingham
McKeon celebrates her history-making victory in the 50m freestyle with bronze medallist and Aussie teammate Shayna Jack
‘They’re the ones who inspired me when I was young. I remember watching them on TV and that lit the fire in me to be where I am now.’
McKeon’s 50m freestyle follows her earlier victories in Birmingham in the mixed 4×100 freestyle relay and women’s 4×100 freestyle relay.
The 28-year-old collected four gold medals at both the 2018 Gold Coast Games and the 2014 edition in Glasgow.
‘It is special. It makes me reflect on the last eight years since my first Commonwealth Games,’ she said.
‘I can see how far I’ve come as a person and an athlete.
McKeon has the chance to add more gold to her Birmingham haul with expected swims in four more events – about 50 minutes before her record-breaking freestyle, she was quickest qualifier for the 50m butterfly final.
McKeon is also Australia’s most decorated Olympian with 11 medals – five gold, two silver and four bronze.
And her landmark Commonwealth gold in the 50m freestyle came in an Australian medal sweep with Meg Harris taking the silver and Shayna Jack the bronze.
McKeon won four golds at both the 2014 Games in Glasgow and the 2018 Games on Queensland’s Gold Coast – now her 50m free win (pictured) has propelled her into the sporting record books
The 28-year-old and her partner, pop star Cody Simpson (pictured while training) have been making headlines for months – but the distractions had no effect on her in the pool
McKeon edged her fellow Aussies to win in 23.99 seconds with the fast-finishing Harris (24.32) pipping Jack (24.36) for the silver.
Also Sunday night, Jenna Strauch (women’s 200m breaststroke) and Tim Hodge (men’s 100m breaststroke S8) added silvers to Australia’s medal tally.
Hodge’s teammate Blake Cochrane won the bronze in the final won by New Zealand’s Josh Willmer.
Kyle Chalmers rose above controversy outside the pool to be the fastest qualifier for the men’s 100m freestyle final with fellow Australians William Yang (third) and Zac Incerti (eighth) also into the medal race.
Australia’s Bowen Gough finished fourth and Brendon Smith was last in the men’s 200m butterfly final won by another Kiwi, Lewis Clareburt.