At just 21 years of age, Emma McKeon has already solidified her position as one of Australia’s premiere female swimming talents. Emma, who trains with Queensland Academy of Sports coach of the year, Michael Bohl, swims with the St Peters Western swimming club. Specialising in the 100m and 200m freestyle and 100m butterfly, Emma has already won several medals at both Commonwealth Games and World Championships.

With the Rio Olympic Games firmly in her sights, Emma was kind enough to catch up with the HP team and share some insight into her development and personality.

One to watch in Rio ladies and gentlemen. Welcome Emma McKeon.


HP: Who is the first person that comes to your mind when you hear the word “successful”

EM: I think of my parents as being successful. They have worked hard at everything in their lives to get to where they are now, and they are happy. I think that is really the main thing that makes you successful, if you are happy doing what you’re doing.

HP: Emma, how do you measure your development? Is it purely results based or are there other factors you consider too?

In swimming we really only race fully rested around twice per year so it would be hard to measure it just on results. There are a lot of different skills to work on in swimming like the start, turn and finish so if i can improve little bits in these areas then its easy to take off 1-2 seconds just on skill work. I measure my development off my improvement in those areas. I also do a bit of work in the gym to improve my strength so little tests every now and then in the gym also help me measure my improvement. Then all these small factors add up to an improvement in my results when it comes to racing time.


Photo: Speedo Australia


HP: What advice would you give yourself 5 years ago and what advice will you give yourself 5 years from now? It doesn’t have to be specific, just any wisdom you can think of?

EM: 5 years ago I would have said it doesn’t matter about the results I’m getting then, because it won’t affect how i am going to perform in 5 years time when i have improved a lot more.

In 5 years time I would probably say to take in all the things that swimming have provided me, like travel, great friends, and also great life lessons, because really, this is just a short part of your life.

I think that is really the main thing that makes you successful, if you are happy doing what you’re doing.



HP: What state of mind do you perform best in?

EM: I definitely perform best when I am relaxed, happy and enjoying my swimming/racing. If I am stressed then I’m not thinking about what I need to do. It makes it hard to enjoy racing and perform at my best when I’m stressed.

HP: Number one training tool?

EM: My number one training tool would be the video camera. We are lucky to have access to all sorts of equipment like that and people with good advice to improve things such as stroke and skills to make an overall faster swimmer. I find that if I watch my stroke or my turns and dives on the camera I can very quickly fix things up to make my race more efficient or faster.

HP: Do you have a favourite book?

EM: I just finished reading Mick Fanning’s book. Definitely one of the best books I’ve read and it was nice to read about someone who has taken it so far in what they do, but also shows the big ups and downs of sport and also in life.

Mick Fanning-Surf For Your Life

Mick Fanning-Surf For Your Life

HP: Best piece of wisdom you have learnt so far from a coach/mentor and how you apply it?

EM: One of the best pieces of wisdom I have learnt so far would be from my parents. Keep everything simple. Try not to overthink what I’m doing, and focus on the fun parts of swimming. I love racing, and i love the travel i get out of it, and i love the social side of it. So when things get tough and I’m not enjoying it, its easy just to take a step back and focus on the things that i like about it. There have been a couple times throughout my swimming that i have given it up because i wasn’t enjoying it and was finding it too stressful, but when i came back to the sport i decided to just keep it all very simple and just enjoy it. Since then i have swam a lot quicker and started to have more success.

HP: Whats one thing you learned from your grandparents?

EM: My Pop was probably one of the toughest people I know. He did a lot of exercise and worked so hard! I learnt from him to really push myself and work hard in everything that i do.

HP: If a meme was created about you what would it say?

EM: “Where are my house keys?”

(I have locked myself out of my apartment too many times)

Emma Meme

HP: What are 3 lessons you would teach a class of 14 year olds?


  1. Be thankful for all the people that help you along the way and all the opportunities you get
  2. Believe and work hard for the things you want, no matter how far out of reach they might seem
  3. If you are doing an activity/sport that you don’t enjoy, do something else, because you will be successful in the things you have a passion for.

HP: What does your morning routine look like?

Even though i’ve been having early mornings since I was about 10 years old, I’m not really an early morning person, so i set my alarm last minute and I’m out the door within 5 minutes to be at training which starts at 6am.

HP: Lastly, what were the last 3 songs you listened too on your playlist?


  1. Like an Animal- Rufus
  2. Magnets- Disclosure
  3. How to fly- Sticky Fingers


Photo: Speedo Australia

Photo: Speedo Australia


The HP Team would like to thank Emma for spending time with us and share a little bit about herself with our readers.

We wish you the very best of success towards Rio 2016.

If you want to follow Emma’s journey click on the image below.


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