Aussie swim team hit new Olympic high

Emma McKeon (l) has spearheaded Australia's swim team to its most successful Olympic campaign.
Emma McKeon (l) has spearheaded Australia's swim team to its most successful Olympic campaign.

Australia's seven-time medallist Emma McKeon says she's overwhelmed to equal the female record for most medals at an Olympic Games.

McKeon ticked off several historical markers on Sunday as Australia's swimmers put triumphant golden touches on a record-breaking campaign.

McKeon won gold in the 50-metres freestyle and 4x100m medley relay with Kaylee McKeown, Chelsea Hodges and Cate Campbell.

The 27-year-old collected seven medals in Tokyo, equal most of any female with Russian gymnast Maria Gorokhovskaya's haul from the 1952 Games.

And McKeon's career total of 11 Olympic medals is more than any other Australian, eclipsing the nine of Ian Thorpe and Leisel Jones.

"I'm so proud of myself," McKeon said.

"It does mean a lot to me, it means a lot to the team I have got behind me.

"It's overwhelming knowing how much hard work me and everyone else has put into this."

Australian swimmers won nine golds in Tokyo, bettering the nation's previous record of eight at the 1956 Melbourne Games.

And with three silvers and eight bronze, the Tokyo haul of 20 swimming medals equals the nation's benchmark from the 2008 Beijing Games.

"Amazing. Unbelievable. Everything we were hoping for," Swimming Australia's head coach Rohan Taylor said.

McKeon becomes the first Australian to win four gold at a single Games.

"It's the best I've ever seen her mentally and physically, knew what she had to do from very first swim," her coach Michael Bohl said.

"When you see someone that works as hard as she does succeed at the high level, that's what gives you the most satisfaction."

Backstroker McKeown, aged just 20, snared three gold medals after helping McKeon, Hodges and Campbell to a dramatic victory in Sunday's medley final.

After trailing the United States for the initial three laps, Campbell's stunning last freestyle leg delivered victory by just 0.13 seconds.

Campbell won two gold and a bronze in Tokyo to medal at four consecutive Olympics, a rare feat also achieved by backstroke stalwart Emily Seebohm.

"Something about going through adversity together has really united us," Campbell said of the Dolphins.

"It has been absolutely incredible."

And Ariarne Titmus, also only 20-years-old, won two gold, a silver and bronze in memorable freestyle duels with American great Katie Ledecky.

Zac Stubblety-Cook won gold in the 200m breaststroke while two male compatriots were centimetres from gold.

Defending his 100m freestyle title, Kyle Chalmers was just 0.06 seconds behind American great Caeleb Dressel.

And Jack McLoughlin produced a daring 400m freestyle swim, leading from the front until being touched out by a Tunisian in lane eight by 0.16 seconds.

Australian Associated Press