McKeons continue family tradition

There was always a sense of fate about siblings David and Emma McKeon becoming the first two competitors to qualify for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games swimming team at the selection trials in Brisbane on Tuesday night.

Their father, Ron, mother Susie (nee Woodhouse) and uncle Rob Woodhouse all competed at Commonwealth Games as swimmers after all.

David, 21, unleashed months of frustration after a disappointing world championships last year when he swam an impressive heat in the morning, and repeated it last night to command the 400-metre freestyle final. He led throughout to finish in three minutes 43.72 – 0.01 seconds outside his winning time last year but more than four seconds inside the qualifying time for the Games.

Emma was equally impressive in destroying a good 200 freestyle field that included London Olympic bronze medallist Bronte Barratt. Emma, 19, won in an Australian record 1:55.68 from Barratt (1:56.61) and Brittany Elmslie (1:57.64).

Both have previously made national teams, but David said a Commonwealth Games team was something special given the family history.

"It was only a few years ago that I realised Dad's got six Commonwealth Games gold medals on the wall at home. It meant a lot," said McKeon, who also competed at the London Olympic Games.

"It's a great history with both my parents in the Commonwealth Games and my uncle Rob. It means a lot to me."

Emma, who swam a relay in Barcelona, said she pleased that both her and David had earned individual berths.

"It's pretty special that we both made it on the first night of the meet," Emma said.

The pair moved from Wollongong, where they were coached by Ron, to Brisbane before Christmas under the tutelage of Vince Raleigh.

Ron McKeon said he had been trying to get David to move out on his own for a couple of years but it was not until his younger sister made the decision that David followed.

"It was always going to be hard for them to do what they've done to come up here and live together and there are little niggles along the way," he said.

"I told them it's not going to be easy and that's why you do it now and not next year or the year after. It's just part of being uncomfortable sometimes and I think that's really good for them to grow and learn and get on with it."

Promising 17-year-old Mack Horton finally earned his spot on a national team after missing on three occasions by heartbreakingly small margins, with his second to David McKeon with a junior world record time of 3:44.60.

Keryn McMaster defended her 400 individual medley title but her 4:39.69. was two seconds outside the qualifying time.

Christian Spenger won the 200 breaststroke in 2:08.63 and Rowan Crothers won the Para-sport 100 freestyle.

This story McKeons continue family tradition first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.