McKeown readies for tilt at world championships
SWIMMING: Some lifetime best test results at training and a concerted European racing campaign have provided Taylor McKeown with the perfect lead-in for this month's world championships.
The 22-year-old is one of three University of the Sunshine Coast athletes set to compete at Budapest in Hungary.
And she's determined to fare well there after snaring a medley relay silver medal at the Rio Olympics last year.
"I couldn't have asked for a better preparation from Taylor," coach Chris Mooney said.
"We had a good break post-Rio with a mental and physical freshen-up and we've come back with a few little tweaks to our plan and she's trained well.
"She's tested really well on some of her training sets. I'd go as far to say she's surprised us with some of her results, which are lifetime bests."
But he admits it's one thing to train well and another to perform well on the big stage.
"Testing is just a yardstick, the real measurement comes when expectation and pressure collides at world champs, that will be the real acid test then," he said.
McKeown has previously admitted nerves got the better of her in the 100m and 200m breaststroke events at Rio.
She qualified fasted for the final of the latter, before finishing fifth.
But they want her to compete with a clear mind at the world championships.
"It's not a matter of trying harder in the race. It's about getting the daily processes at training done better to allow her to let go on race day," Mooney said.
"If we get those processes right, she can virtually get behind those blocks and forget about everything and then it (racing) will become second nature."
McKeown will go into the event race-savvy too, having competed in a string of meets in Europe during the past two-and-a-half months.
She has been highly competitive at events in France, Spain and the Netherlands.
Most recently, she finished second to in-form Yulia Efimova in the 200m at the French Open.
The Australian champion clocked 2min24.02sec.
Her younger sister, teenager Kaylee, will also compete at the world championships as will club-mate and Olympic relay medallist Leah Neale.