Emma McKeon joins Australian swimming Commonwealth Games greats

It was Bronte Campbell’s storming finish which secured Emma McKeon’s eighth Commonwealth Games gold. 

But it was the versatile Wollongong star’s 100m butterfly performance which brought Australia back from the brink to beat Canada.

As ever, McKeon is the swimming team’s quiet achiever.

Haul: Emma McKeon. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Haul: Emma McKeon. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Her split of 56.42 was 0.44 seconds quicker than Canadian rival Penny Oleksiak, putting Campbell within striking distance for the freestyle leg, where they set a new Games record.

McKeon finished the Gold Coast campaign with four gold medals and two bronze, the same haul she took home from Glasgow, her break-out international event. The 100m butterfly the jewel in the crown as an individual gold, as well as success in the 4x100m and 4x200m relays, to go with Tuesday night’s thrilling medley relay triumph.

As well as boosting her claim to be the Illawarra finest ever athlete, McKeon is now two gold medals behind the legendary Susie O’Neill, Ian Thorpe and Leisel Jones, who are Australia’s most successful swimmers with 10 gold each.

O’Neill and Jones needed three Commonwealth Games competitions to hit double figures and at 23, it’s entirely feasible McKeon will be at the Birmingham event in 2022, where she could move past their tallies.

Illawarra and South Coast athletes are closing in on more medals, with Wollongong’s Flynn Ogilvie part of the Kookaburras charge to the semi-final.

Gerringong’s Grace Stewart scored in the Hockeyroos 2-nil win over Scotland on Tuesday to secure top spot in their group, chasing a place in the gold medal game on Saturday.

It’s the same day as the 1500m athletics final, where Bulli’s Ryan Gregson competes.

Emma McKeon

Emma McKeon