Aussies top medal table but miss swim award at worlds

Australia's Kaylee McKeown won all three backstroke gold medals at the world championships.

Australia's Kaylee McKeown won all three backstroke gold medals at the world championships. Photo: AAP

Australia won the most gold medals, boasted the swimmer with the most individual golds, and the female swimmer of the world championships.

Yet the United States has been presented with the award for the best team of the world championships in Japan.

Australia captured 13 gold, seven silver and five bronze medals in Fukuoka – the total of 25 is the nation’s record at a single world titles.

And the golden haul equals Australia’s best-ever return at the worlds, in 2005 and 2001 editions.

Swimming Australia’s head coach Rohan Taylor is bemused by the United States claiming the team award presented by the sport’s governing body, World Aquatics.

The Americans won seven gold among their 38 medals, the most overall of any nation.

“The way the award is presented is on total medals, that’s the award,” Taylor said.

“We (Australia) have always looked at, and I was brought up by the Don Talbot era, that gold medals were the most important.

“So from our perspective, we were the best performed team on the gold medal count.

“And when you look at the website and you look at the medal tally, we sit on top of that.

“That is how I feel. But I’m not taking anything away from the US and they won the award based on the criteria that was there.”

Australian sensation Mollie O’Callaghan departs Fukuoka with five golds — the most of any swimmer at the meet — and a silver.

Ian Thorpe (six golds in Fukuoka in 2001) holds the Australian record for most golds at a single world championships.

O’Callaghan also featured in three of Australia’s four world records in Fukuoka.

“It’s what you’d hope would happen with another exposure to this level of meet,” Taylor said.

“The ability to lean back on the work done, the support team who have really put a lot in to that preparation as well, not just addressing the physical but how they psychologically bring it.

“And it was put to the test here and she was really was able to do that.”

Australian backstroker Kaylee McKeown was crowned female swimmer of the year after sweeping all three golds in the 50m, 100m and 200 medal races of her pet stroke.

“I have teammates like Ariarne Titmus and Mollie O’Callaghan who have broken world records this week,” McKeown said.

“As proud as I am, I feel like I have should share that (award) with my teammates.

“I never thought in a million years I would be named swimmer of the year. But it’s pretty cool.”


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