It’s no secret that Emma McKeon is one of Australia’s best Olympic swimmers. With numerous medals to her credit and a literally golden performance at Rio last year, McKeon will be lining up a six-event program at this year’s World Championships in Budapest, promising an even more beaming performance than ever before.
And it’s not only that we admire her for. In addition to her super-ambitious nature and cupidity for improvement, McKeon also has a great sense of style, pairing edgy and comfortable garments and creating looks that flatter her figure beautifully. And she never attends a big competition without a stylish pair of earrings. Really.
Here, Olympic medalist and record holder Emma McKeon talks about her love for swimming, challenging career moments, and everyday minutiae — from pastimes to style, beauty, and beyond.
Caterina Jewelry: First off, congratulations for your incredible performance at Rio! How are you feeling now, after conquering a gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games?
Emma McKeon: I felt really good after Rio. I felt like I accomplished what I wanted and trained so hard for there. Now that I am back to training for this year’s World Championships in Budapest, I feel a lot more confident in my abilities, and really motivated and enthusiastic to keep improving.
CJ: You’ve dedicated so many years to swimming. What makes it so special to you?
EM: Both my parents were swimmers and they introduced me to the water and pursued my swimming lessons from an early age. And I’ve just loved being in the water since I was a baby. My involvement in learning to swim sort of just continued through and I got to a competitive level when I was about 13. I loved the social side of swimming, and I often found myself challenging my own abilities to see how far I could go. This was another big thing that kept me going and largely impacted my performance over the years.
CJ: How did your mother encouraged you to swim? Was she supportive of you throughout your career?
EM: My mom taught me to swim and has always been my number one supporter in everything I do.
CJ: As a record holder and gold medalist, your life must be perpetually busy. What does a normal day in your life look like?
EM: At the moment, I’m back to training again as I’m getting ready for the World Championships in Budapest in July. Right now, a week for me consists of nine two-hour swimming sessions, two one-hour gym sessions, and two half-hour core/pilates sessions, as well as physio/massage recovery in-between. I also do part-time uni so I attend lectures when I can or do as much as I can from home.
CJ: What was one particularly challenging moment in your swimming career?
EM: I missed out on selection at the London 2012 Games by 0.1 seconds. After this, I decided to stop swimming because I simply didn’t want to wait and train for another four years to go to the Olympics, even though it was something I wanted to do from a very young age. I decided there were other things I wanted to be doing instead, and I didn’t want to sacrifice all the social things happening in my life for swimming. But after about six months out of the pool, I decided I wanted to get back in and just make sure I was enjoying every moment of it. I wanted to see how far I could get with not putting any pressure on myself to perform and merely focus on those aspects of the sport that I loved.
CJ: And the happiest moment?
EM: Winning a bronze medal in the 200m freestyle at the 2016 Rio Olympics and looking up into the stands and seeing my family. They are the reason I have had the success I have had so far in swimming. They’ve given me love and support over the years, and were there for me in all the good and bad times of my career. Having them there to watch and cheer me on made it even easier.
CJ: What’s your favorite pastime — like, when you’re not swimming?
EM: I spend most of my weekends at the beach just relaxing. I love to unwind after a hard week of training, and it always feels like I’m on a holiday on the weekends when I get to do that.
CJ: Tell us about your style. How would you describe it?
EM: I’m more into natural makeup looks because they’re what I feel most comfortable in, plus I want to look like myself as much as possible. I’m not one to overdo makeup or be over-accessorized. I don’t really get to dress up too often because I spend most of my time in my swimwear or exercise clothes, so when I get the chance to I absolutely love it.
CJ: What’s the one piece in your wardrobe you would never throw away?
EM: My favorite pair of bikinis for the beach.
CJ: What about jewelry? How do you like to wear it?
EM: I always wear earrings. I love wearing simple but different styles. Picking a different pair to wear at major competitions is always fun to do, and I typically wear that one pair during the entire duration of the comp.
CJ: What are your favorite Caterina Jewelry pieces?
EM: The Minimalista Earrings Collection, hands down.
CJ: Do you like to pamper yourself, beauty-wise?
EM: I get a massage once a fortnight, and though it’s a sports massage, I like to consider it as pampering. But most of all, I like getting my nails done.
CJ: At the end of the interview, can you tell us what’s the best piece of beauty advice you’ve ever received?
EM: To be happy and always wear a smile!