2. McKeon v gold-winning Commonwealth Games athletes
McKeon holds her own not only against other swimmers, but also against athletes competing in all other sports at the Games.
McKeon has won five more gold medals than the next most successful gold medalists in other disciplines on the list.
They include Canadian diver Alexandre Despatie, who won nine, as well as India’s Jaspal Rana (shooting) and England’s Bill Hoskyns (fencing). You can see the full list below.
3. McKeon v total medal hauls at Commonwealth Games
McKeon doesn’t only have a haul of gold medals, although they make up the majority of her total.
The chart below tracks the total number of medals won at the Commonwealth Games since 1994 across different sports. McKeon has raked in a grand total of 20 medals, two more than the next three most highly decorated athletes.
She dominates in the gold, but sits around the average mark in bronze, with South Africa’s Chad le Clos winning seven across his four Games. Australian shooter Phillip Adams overtakes McKeon in the silver by eight.
4. McKeon v swimmers at other major championships
By now, you may be wondering what happened to Phelps, the American swimmer who took the world by storm when he won eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. Isn’t he swimming’s GOAT?
Quick answer: yes, he is. Phelps remains an icon of the pool, but how does McKeon track beside him and other swimmers beyond the Commonwealth Games?
It is hard to beat someone like Phelps, who has raked in nearly 100 medals in total over his swimming career. But McKeon holds her own despite the strength of the competition, winning an impressive total of 70 medals, not including her Commonwealth Games haul.
Phelps hung up his goggles soon after the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, whereas McKeon likely has a few more years of competition left.
The Australian may still have time to catch up to the mega fish – or at least American Ryan Lochte, who is only seven medals ahead – something that is especially likely if McKeon continues hauling in the medals at the rate she has been in the past year .
5. McKeon v other record-breakers in the pool
It’s hopefully becoming clear how the “Wollongong wonder” rose to swimming supremacy. But McKeon doesn’t only win medals, she breaks records.
Although McKeon did not swim any record-breaking laps in Birmingham, she has smashed through 12 world records elsewhere, including three FINA long- and short-course titles, six Commonwealth Games records and three Olympic records.
Compared to other athletes in the water, McKeon tracks nicely, equaling Thorpe, doubling O’Neill and quadrupling Jones.
As for international comparisons, butterfly and backstroke powerhouse Lochte exceeds McKeon by seven records, mainly down to the fact that the majority of his FINA records were broken in the short-course competitions. Beyond Lochte, McKeon powers ahead of every other swimmer – even the illustrious Phelps.
What makes her such a wonder in the water is the number of different events she swims in. Rather than having one or two pet events (as is the case for many swimmers), McKeon has won gold in 11 different events. This includes relays, but is still more than any other swimmer listed and thus emblematic of how accomplished she is across the board.
Get all the latest news from the Birmingham Commonwealth Games here. We’ll be live blogging the action from 4pm-10am daily.