The intense training program that propelled Emma McKeown to a record 13 Commonwealth Games gold medals has been unveiled as she dominates the Birmingham pool.
Top swimmers are known for chasing the black like at the bottom of the pool mile after mile, but the five-time Olympic gold medalist takes it to another level.
Leading up to competition, the 28-year-old completes three gym sessions a week, jumps into the pool nine times and does separate stints where she hones race-specific skills such as her starts, turns and how she finishes her races by expanding to the max. when she touches the timing pad.
McKeon hits the gym three times a week, with a strong focus on strength training to help her “move better and faster through the water”
The strength training is in addition to nine sessions in the pool each week – often one in the morning and one in the afternoon
McKeon completes the drainage regime under the watchful eye of coach Michel Bohl, with Swimming Australia performance manager Jessica Corones working with her on the technical side.
Corones said her load never had a day off as she prepared for her grueling schedule in Birmingham.
“She has to do the physical training and be conditioned to handle it for several days, but there’s also the mental preparation,” Corones told the Herald Sun.
“There’s a big emotional toll because you have to get yourself to an optimal level of excitement to race, that’s quite high, then you have to get yourself down really fast and recover.”
Swimming Australia performance manager Jessica Corones says her team never has a day off – and it has been well worth it in Birmingham, where she has become the best Commonwealth Games athlete ever
McKeown has previously broken down what a training day looks like for her.
It starts when she wakes up at 5:30 a.m., has a banana to give her body some fuel for the coming water torture, and then she starts working for two hours in the pool, she told Women’s Health magazine.
She goes through hour-long sessions at the gym to increase her strength so she can “move better and faster through the water.”
At 9:30 a.m., she’s in Weet-Bix eating breakfast, sometimes followed by a two-hour nap, then an appointment with the physio who usually focuses on her shoulders, who take up much of her workload.
McKeon – pictured with boyfriend Cody Simpson – prefers her grueling afternoon pool sessions to the workout she does in the morning as they are more focused on racing
Just after 3pm, another two-hour session in the pool follows – and it’s even worse than the morning hit-out, sometimes with a lot of lactation work, where she swims at a high intensity to increase the speed she can maintain without getting fatigued .
McKeon prefers the afternoon sessions because they are “more race-based” and she can try to get the time she needs for each lap.
By 9 p.m., she gets her much-needed eight hours of sleep after a quick dinner like chicken curry.
The regime has proved its worth in Birmingham, where McKeon has billed herself as the greatest Commonwealth Games athlete ever – and looks set to complement her gold medal when she tackles the women’s medley on Wednesday night.