Games-Record breaking McKeon admits pool programme took 'mental toll'


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- Multiple champion Emma McKeon said she has had to pay a psychological price for her dominance in the pool after the Australian became the most successful Commonwealth Games athlete of all time.

McKeon, who also has a record-breaking haul of Olympic medals to her name, won six golds as well as a silver and a bronze in Birmingham to take her medal tally to a record-breaking 20 at the quadrennial event.

But while the 28-year-old left her rivals in her wake, she admitted competing in numerous disciplines during the week-long programme had presented her with significant challenges.

"The main thing was definitely the mental toll," McKeon told News Corp. "It's been a big week. It was physically tough but I've trained for that.

"Mentally, you have to get up to race and then no matter what the result is, you have to come down to rest and recover.

"Then you have to get up again to race again. Then you have to come down again. Doing that 16 times in a week has been a lot.

"It can be exhausting but it's worth it, part of the challenge you've decided to put yourself through."

McKeon's haul in Birmingham comes off the back of claiming four golds and three bronze at last year's delayed Tokyo Games as she set a new record for the number of Olympic medals held by an Australian.

However, her involvement in the Commonwealth Games was at times overshadowed by coverage of a 'love triangle' involving McKeon, her current partner Cody Simpson and ex-boyfriend Kyle Chalmers, both of whom were in the Australian team in England.

"It was obviously a pretty tough week," said McKeon. "There were lots of good parts to it.

"Obviously sharing it with Cody and having both my parents in the stands every time I raced. That was special because they couldn't be in Tokyo.

"I'll say it's been a rollercoaster of emotions."

McKeon now has her sights set on the Olympic Games in Paris in two years' time.

"I have big expectations for myself and this week I needed to bring myself back to...square one again on the way to Paris," she said.

"Allowing myself not to overdo it with the pressure was a big deal."

(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong, Editing by Kim Coghill)

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