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Swimmers and Modern Pentathletes to make a splash at Buenos Aires

21 June 2018

BUENOS AIRES: The Australian Team for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) continues to grow with another 10 of the nation’s brightest young sporting prospects added to the Team.

Eight swimmers and two modern pentathletes have today been announced, taking the Australian Team to 28 athletes (see the athletes seelcted so far here).

Four female and four male swimmers have been named, including the familiar name of Kaylee McKeown.

Kaylee is the younger sister of Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Taylor McKeown, but is quickly becoming a household name in her own right.

The current national 200m backstroke champion finished fourth in her pet event at her senior World Championships debut in Budapest last year, setting a new Junior World Record in the process. She also helped Australia win World Championship silver in the mixed 4x100m Medley Relay.

McKeown burst onto Australia’s screens at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, finishing fourth in both the 100m and 200m backstroke events, cementing herself as a permanent fixture on the Australian Dolphin’s national squad.

Now the 17-year-old is ready to make her mark on the Youth Olympic stage.

“It has definitely been a jam packed 12 months, with having made the Senior Worlds Team and Comm Games Team,” the Queenslander said.

“However, by making these teams I am able to take away new experiences and understandings on how to compete and act on the world stage. With the Youth Olympics around the corner I will once again be using it to gain more knowledge and understanding, almost using it as a stepping stone towards my goal of the Olympics in 2020.”

Taylor and Kaylee McKeown

Kaylee said she has learnt a lot from her big sister Taylor, and she is more prepared for her second multi-sport competition after the Gold Coast experience.

“[Taylor] was great to have by my side at the Comm Games as she gave me tips on how to manage myself being in a village. Her tips were ones like: don’t get distracted by the village life - meaning don’t go doing things you wouldn’t normally do at home. Eat what you’d normally eat, stick to your own schedule and don’t get distracted by what others are doing.

“Watching Taylor achieve her dreams also influenced me in a way that made me want to be like her and strive for the unimaginable.”

Sharing the pool with the swimmers will be Nikita Mawhirt and Keean Van Venrooij, who will represent Australia in the five-sport spectacular, Modern Pentahlon.

The duo secured quotas for Australia as the top ranked Oceania athletes at the YOG Continental qualifier in Gotemba, Japan in September 2017.
In securing the quota, Mawhirt achieved a goal she had set for herself when she first started the sport in 2014.

Nikita Mawhirt

“It’d been 4 years of training and competitions leading up to the one opportunity to qualify, and it was extremely nerve racking that it all came down to a single day of competition,” Mawhirt said.

“Australia had a really talented group of girls at the qualification event in Japan last year and honestly, it could’ve been any one of us.

“I had a good preparation leading into the trials and knew I just needed to take one event at a time. Crossing the line after our final 800m run and realising that I’d done it, that I was the first Australian to cross the line and secure a spot, was a very emotional experience.

“I think the initiative behind YOG will provide a lot of important skills for us, sportsmanship, leadership and acknowledging the comraderie between countries.”

The Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games will run 6-18 October, 2018. Australia is expecting to take close to 100 athletes to the third edition of the YOG.

Selected Australian athletes for Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games
Lewis Blackburn (18) Sydney, NSW
Ashton Brinkworth (18), Perth, WA
Chelsea Hodges (16), Gold Coast, QLD
Joseph Jackson (18), Brisbane, QLD
Kaylee McKeown (17), Sunshine Coast, QLD
Michaela Ryan (16), Cleveland, QLD
Stuart Swinburn (16), Sydney, NSW
Abbey Webb (17), Queanbeyan, NSW

Modern Pentathlon
Nikita Mawhirt (17), Henley Brook, WA
Keaan Van Venrooij (18), Parkwood, QLD

Georgia Thompson

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