Emma McKeon’s biggest challenger could be Aussie teen Laura Taylor.
Emma McKeon’s biggest challenger could be Aussie teen Laura Taylor.

Teen emerges as McKeon’s biggest threat

SWIM star Emma McKeon could tackle the 200m butterfly at the Commonwealth Games but it's young gun Laura Taylor that could yet emerge as her biggest threat in the event.

McKeon beat Taylor at the Queensland state titles in December but the teen turned the tables at the recent NSW championships, stripping almost a second from her best time despite being untapered.

Taylor hit the wall in 2min 8.11sec to touch out McKeon (2:08.32), who is likely to add the event to her program for the Commonwealth Games.

The win was a confidence-booster for the 18-year-old, who finished just out of the reckoning at Olympic and world championship trials over the past two years.


"I'm really happy with that swim untapered, so it's looking really good going into the Commonwealth trials," Taylor said.

"I'm hoping can get under 2:07 by trials."

McKeon's coach Michael Bohl said he was unsure whether McKeon would add the 200m fly to an already busy Games schedule, although it would likely be her only chance to swim it on the international stage given it clashes with the 200m freestyle at most major events.

Taylor though, is determined to seal a place and has been taking inspiration from a past great.

Australia has a great tradition in the 200m butterfly, with Susie O'Neill, Petria Thomas and Jess Schipper having won world and Olympic titles in the event.

And two-time world champion Schipper has stamped her approval, with her personalised postcards providing plenty of inspiration for The Southport School squad member Talyor, who trains just minutes away from the Games venue.

"Every year, Jess Schipper sends me a postcard," Taylor said.

"I always love getting that in the mail after Queensland states, it's always encouraging.

"I think she sends it to all the 200m butterfly state champions, if you win, she'll send one.

"It's quite nice of her to do that."

Previously a distance specialist, Taylor changed tack about two years ago and is part of a strong butterfly squad at TSS that includes Rio Olympian David Morgan.

"Probably two years ago I realised (switching to butterfly) was my best chance of making a senior team," Taylor said.

"I made a junior team two years ago, so that's when I realised I should go for that (option)."

A Brisbane product, Taylor moved to the Gold Coast seven years ago and said competing at a Games in her backyard was a "massive" motivation.

"I just want to get there," she said.

"I can (see the pool from home). I look at it going, 'I'm going there, hopefully'."

Taylor will compete for a place in the Australian team at the Games trials on the Gold Coast from February 28-March 3.