Emma McKeon, seven Olympic medals at Tokyo – and four of them are gold. Today, she grabbed victory in the 50m freestyle gold and earlier she won the 100m freestyle final in Olympic record time.is officially Australia’s most decorated Olympian of all time and the queen of the pool in Tokyo after scoring her 11th Olympic medal today. The swimming champion has won
Earlier, we interviewed Emma about her close family bond and how that gives her the X factor in the pool.
For her, swimming is a family affair. At the Rio Games, Emma and David McKeon were the first brother and sister to compete for Australia at the same Olympics since John and Ilsa Konrads in 1960. When she competed at Rio her coaching dad Ron, a former Olympian himself, and mum Susie, a Commonwealth Games swimming star, were in her corner too. Earlier, we caught up with the sprint queen to talk about how her special family bond gives her the X factor in the pool!
Swimming is a real family affair for the McKeons. Give us an overview of that dynamic – and the relationship between you and your brother David
My mum, dad and uncle were all on the Aussie swim team and have been involved in swimming their whole lives. I’m really lucky that they are all able to give me the best advice and support in both swimming and life, because they have done it all before and really understand it. We all grew up by the water, surfing, doing nippers in the summer, waterskiing and swimming, so it was a natural choice I think. That’s where my love for the water comes from.
My brother David went to the London Olympics in 2012 with me. It was nice to have him in Rio the whole trip to give me the support and advice when I needed it.
Note: David McKeon finished seventh in the men’s 400 freestyle in Rio, less than two seconds outside the medals, and swam the third leg of the Australians’ fourth-place 800 free relay. He retired from swimming in January, 2021.
How’s the team mood and what are your expectations?
The team mood is very positive at the moment. Everyone is super excited for what’s coming up and it’s so nice that everyone on this team is so close and are all good friends.
Are you a good cook? What does an average day look like for you, meal-wise?
I’m not much of a cook to be honest, particularly with my hectic training schedule. I find I don’t have much time to cook. But I always like to choose the healthy options, with lots of veggies and some protein in every meal.
For breakfast I usually have Weet-Bix or two eggs on toast. Lunch is usually a salad sandwich or sometimes some left over dinner. After training at night, dinner tends to be something quick and easy to cook such as stir-fry, pasta, or a steak and salad.
How do you keep your skin and hair in such good shape?
Being in the chlorine for four hours every day definitely makes my skin and hair very dry! So I try to do the best job I can at cleaning and restoring hydration to my skin and hair. I use Olay moisturiser on my face every day after training and before bed. I also ensure I cleanse my face after a swim and again before bed to remove any excess chlorine.
To avoid my hair becoming too damaged I have to rinse it straight away after every session to get the chlorine out, then again before bed. I find leave in conditioner helps a lot to restore moisture to my hair. Staying hydrated is also key, so I drink plenty of water throughout the day.
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