Commonwealth Games 2014: Emma and David McKeon win medals in Glasgow

Family comes first for the McKeons.

And the way Emma McKeon is swimming, they will be coming first a lot in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games pool.

McKeon, 20, was tipped to become Australia’s next superstar by head coach Jacco Verhaeren after claiming two gold as well as playing a major role in the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team’s stunning world record.

‘‘A star is born,’’ he beamed.

But considering McKeon’s lineage, it seemed becoming swimming’s next golden girl was her destiny.

Her father – and ex-coach Ron – and her mother Susie both swam for Australia at a Commonwealth Games.

Wollongong-bred  McKeon now trains in the Brisbane pool where her mother made her Games debut in Brisbane in 1982.

Then there’s her uncle Rob Woodhouse, former Commonwealth champion and ex-Olympian.

However, it was her older brother David McKeon who inspired her before she nabbed her maiden gold – and Australia’s first in the pool at Glasgow – in the women’s 200m freestyle final.

David McKeon set a world record-breaking pace before fading and being overwhelmed by Canadian Ryan Cochrane on the last lap, having to settle for 400m freestyle silver.

‘‘I was watching him and he was so far in front of the world record for most of the race,’’ Emma McKeon said.

‘‘I was trying to stay relaxed but I was so excited at the same time, it was still good to watch.’’

Unfazed, Emma McKeon dug deep in the 200m, fighting off England’s Siobhan O’Connor (1:55.82) and Australia’s Bronte Barratt (1:56.62) to win in a Games record time of 1:55.57.

 She then found time to qualify fourth-fastest for Friday night’s 100m butterfly final before her relay heroics. McKeon teamed up with Cate Campbell, Bronte Campbell and Melanie Schlanger to secure Australia’s first swimming world record in five years.

Remarkably McKeon is in line to win six gold at Glasgow.

‘‘It’s overwhelming. I was not expecting any of this,’’ she said.

But it seemed to be no surprise to Woodhouse.

He sensed something special was brewing when he had the honour of handing out gold caps to Australian team rookies at the Glasgow athletes village last week – including his niece Emma.

‘‘That was special but I believe there is more to come,’’ he said.

Woodhouse formed part of a big McKeon family contingent who screamed Emma home from the Glasgow stands.

Verhaeren hinted they may have plenty more to cheer about.

‘‘I think her journey now begins because she has more in her but she needs to go and take it step by step,’’ he said. AAP

"Australia used to break (world records) all the time and it used to not kind of be a big deal," Schlanger said.

"To be a part of something that's brought that legacy back a little bit, it's pretty exciting.

"I'm sure we'll see a few more broken in the next couple of years as we get closer to those suit records."

The performance provided one of five medals for Australia on the first night of finals as hosts Scotland also claimed two gold.

David McKeon, also from Wollongong, joined his sister Emma in carrying on the family's proud swimming history, though he had to settle for silver in the 400m freestyle final.

Keryn McMaster (400m individual medley) and Bronte Barratt (200m freestyle) both claimed bronze medals but the younger McKeon sibling was the star of the show.

Minutes after watching her brother overhauled by Canadian Ryan Cochrane on the last lap, she fought off England's Siobhan O'Connor (1:55.82) and Barratt (1:56.62) to win the 200m freestyle in a Games record time of 1:55.57.

McKeon then found time to qualify fourth-fastest for Friday night's 100m butterfly final before her relay heroics.

The new ironwoman of the pool will compete for up to six gold medals this week.

"Emma had such a tough night tonight and for her to be able to back up and produce a solid swim like she did and put us in that position was pretty awesome," Schlanger said.

The McKeon siblings wrote another chapter in the family's rich swimming history, with their dual Olympian father Ron winning two gold medals at the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton.

Their mother Susie (nee Woodhouse) and uncle Rob Woodhouse also swam for Australia and all watched on from the stands.

David (3:44.09) was under world record pace with 100m to go before being reeled in by Cochrane (3:43.46) but the 21-year-old was not discouraged by failing to match the efforts of his sister.

"I'm stoked to get a silver medal," he said.

Australian teens Mack Horton (3:44.91) and Jordan Harrison (3:48.09) were fourth and sixth respectively.

McMaster (4:36.35) stormed home on the final lap to clinch third place behind Scottish star Hannah Miley (4:31.76), who claimed an emotional victory in front of her home crowd.

Christian Sprenger, the last to hold a world record for Australia in 2009, finished eighth in the men's 200m breaststroke final, won by Scotland's Ross Murdoch.

Sprenger (2:12.69), the 100m world champion, led early but finished well behind Murdoch (2:07.30) and pre-race favourite Michael Jamieson (2:08.40).

Alicia Coutts (58.07) qualified third fastest for the 100m butterfly final while Leiston Pickett (30.64) and Lorna Tonks (31.44) qualified for Friday night's 50m breaststroke decider.

Mitch Larkin (53.33), Josh Beaver (53.74) and Ben Treffers (54.60) all progressed through the men's 100m backstroke semis.

In the men's para-100m freestyle Australian Rowan Crothers set a new world record of 54.58 seconds to upstage compatriots Matt Cowdrey and Brenden Hall.

AAP

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop