McKeown pushing to match gold-medal winning times
AFTER feeling on top of the world following her gold medal-winning performance in the 200m breaststroke at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Taylor McKeown came crashing back to Earth shortly after arriving home in Brisbane.
"It was a struggle for me at training coming off Glasgow because I couldn't set the same times," McKeown, who swam two minutes 22.36 seconds to win the final, told APN.
"I was upset about that. But since then, over the past couple of weeks, I've adjusted and my times have got better."
The 19-year-old will need to be at her best to win another gold in the Pan Pacific Championships which start on the Gold Coast this morning.
Swimmers from Australia, Japan, Canada and the USA will take part, with the Americans likely to provide stiff opposition after contesting their national championships earlier this month.
McKeown's main threats however are likely to come from two Japanese swimmers.
Rie Kaneto (2:21.58) and countrywoman Kanako Watanabe (2:21.09) have posted better times than McKeown in the event, although the 19-year-old did beat Watanabe in the Aquatic Super Series in Perth in February, albeit in 2:23.94.
As well as battling her opponents, nerves have also got the better of McKeown in the lead-up to big meets.
But she said a letter from former champion breaststroker Samantha Riley prior to the Commonwealth Games had helped settle the butterflies.
The letter said "have fun and enjoy every moment," McKeown said.
Meanwhile, Glasgow gold medallist in the 4x100m freestyle relay, and bronze medallist in the individual 100m free, Tommaso D'Orsogna, said he believed the Australian relay team had time on its side.
D'Orsogna and his teammates will face the might of the US - led by Olympic gold medallist Nathan Adrian - in the 4x100m freestyle relay on Saturday.
"We're still a young team - me, Cam McEvoy and James Magnussen are all 23 and under," D'Orsogna said.
"And Matt Abood is only 28. The US guys have experience, but we believe we can be at our peak for Rio (the 2016 Olympics)."