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McKeown wins third title in three days to hit jackpot, creates slice of swim history

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Sunshine Coast’s Kaylee McKeown has completed an extraordinary weekend in Budapest with a third race win and the title of overall women’s World Cup champion bringing her unprecedented riches.

The 22-year-old wim star was untouchable in her third backstroke triumph of the weekend on Sunday, adding the 200m crown to the 100m and 50m titles that she had annexed with world records over the previous two days.

She became the first woman to hold the world record over all three backstroke events in long course, when she won the 50m on Friday.

Her perfect record of nine backstroke wins in nine events, while breaking World Cup records in every one in Berlin, Athens and now Budapest, ensured the ace took the $US100,000 ($158,000) bonus for the overall series winner.

With more prize money scooped for her 10 race victories in total – she also won the 200m individual medley in Berlin – it’s been a hugely lucrative 16-day spell.

“I really wasn’t expecting this result. It’s lovely and it’s a great experience to take away from these World Cups,” she said.

McKeown’s latest triumphs come after her magnificent world championships in Fukuoka.

“My confidence level is probably where it was after this summer’s world championships,” she said.

“I still have a lot to do mentally and physically. If you are not learning you are not growing, so I have to look for those one percenters that make a difference in my swimming.”

Another stellar Australian performance came from another Sunshine Coaster Lani Pallister, who took the women’s 800m freestyle by more than seven seconds, and broke her own World Cup record in the process, clocking 8:15.11 while improving on the 8:16.82 she had recorded in Berlin.

Kaylee McKeown at the national short course championships last year. Picture: AAP.

EARLIER (Oct 22): Sunshine Coast’s Kaylee McKeown has broken a second world record in the space of two days at the World Cup meet in Budapest.

The 22-year-old bettered her own 100m backstroke record on Saturday (Sunday AEDT) with a time of 57.33 seconds, shaving 0.12 off the mark that she in Adelaide before the Tokyo Olympic Games.

It follows her record-breaking swim on Friday evening when she clocked 26.86 for 50m backstroke, eclipsing the previous record of 26.98 set by China’s Liu Xiang in 2018, when she became the first woman to hold all three long-course backstroke world records.

McKeown was nearly two seconds clear of second-placed Canadian Kylie Masse in the 100m final.

She has earned $US40,000 ($63,350) in bonuses for her two world marks in the Hungarian capital and could add to her record-breaking haul in the 200m backstroke final on Sunday.

McKeown is also in the box seat to claim the overall World Cup series crown, which carries a six-figure bonus.

She is the first woman to hold all three long-course backstroke world records.

Australian swimmer Kaylee McKeown. Picture: Delly Carr/AAP.

EARLIER (Oct 21): Kaylee McKeown now holds the complete set of long-course world records in women’s backstroke.

During the opening night of the 2023 World Cup stop in Budapest on Friday, the 22-year-old rocketed to a new world record in the women’s 50 back, clocking 26.86 to dismantle the previous mark that had stood for five years.

McKeown, the first woman to hold the world record over all three backstroke events in long course, lowered the previous mark of 26.98 set by Liu Xiang of China in 2018.

The 50m back is not contested at the Olympics but is held at the world championships. In July McKeown became the first swimmer to sweep the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke titles at a single world championships.

She also won the 100m and 200m back golds at the Tokyo Olympics.

McKeown, who has held the 100m back world record since June 2021 and the 200m back world record since this March this year, said: “I just wanted to get out fast tonight and see what I can do.

“I am super stoked with that … the only thing I can keep doing is training hard and keep believing in myself and believing in my coach. I never saw myself as a sprinter so it’s really nice to have that under my belt.

“Next year is going to be a really tough year so the more confidence I can build, the better. I have been surprising myself since Berlin. I have been trying to do a couple of things differently and I am pleased that they are working.”

McKeown attended school on the Sunshine Coast, graduating from Pacific Lutheran College in 2018, and now trains on the Gold Coast.

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