ON YOUR MARKS, GET SET... GOLD!
Why the Gold Coast Games will be extra special for swimming star Emma McKeon
When swimming champ Emma McKeon, 23, dives into the pool this month, she’ll be upholding a family tradition
“Igot into swimming mainly because of my parents. They started a swimming school in Wollongong, where I grew up, and they got me and my brother, David, into lessons at a young age because they wanted us to feel safe and comfortable around water. My parents, Susie and Ron, and my uncle Rob all swam in the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, but they never pushed us to compete. I went through all the learn-to-swim levels and loved to race at school swimming carnivals but
I race because of my love of the water.
It feels so special for both my brother and I to be following in our family’s footsteps at a home Games. I know that sport changes over time, but it’s pretty cool knowing that they raced for their country in the same meet we’ll be racing at – and only just up the road in Brisbane – and they’ll be watching us just like their parents watched them.
Our family is really close, so having David swim at these Games with me means so much. The Australian team is already like a big family, but to have someone there who’s actually part of your family and who can offer you that close support is really special. When you’re trying to achieve the best result, it’s nice to have someone to talk to, someone who knows how you’re feeling without you needing to say anything.
I’ll have a busy schedule, competing in the 100m and 200m freestyle, 100m and 200m butterfly and all three relay events, but I’ll still try to be there cheering David on as much as I can in the 4 x 200m relay and 400m freestyle.
Everything I do is always working towards the next Olympics, but the fact these Commonwealth Games are in Australia has me more excited, especially as it’s on my doorstep. I moved to the Gold Coast last year for training, so now I live about 2km from where we’ll be swimming. It’s been so exciting seeing everything get set up in the lead-up to the Games.
I’ve also never raced in front of a home crowd on an international stage, so lots of friends and family will be there and no-one cheers as loudly as a home crowd. It will be an experience I’ll always remember, no matter the results.”
“I’m following in my parents’ footsteps”
(from top) Emma and David’s parents competed in the 1982 Games in Brisbane; with her teammates at the Rio Olympics, after winning gold