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Mollie O’Callaghan stuns Emma McKeon before Ian Thorpe revelation

Australian teenager Molly O’Callaghan emerged as Australia’s next swimming sensation, with the impressive Emma McKeon winning gold in the women’s 100m freestyle final.

When McKenna destroyed everyone on her path at the Commonwealth Games to claim her 13th career Commonwealth gold medal in Birmingham, you laughed your way out of town on Wednesday morning (AEST) assuming you wouldn’t win the 100m freestyle. The event she won last year at the Tokyo Olympics

Unless you’ve heard the screams of Ian Thorpe.

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Swimming legend says teenager O’Callaghan, who turned 18 three months ago, had symptoms and her team watched her take out the frustrated monster at Sandwell Aquatic Centre.

He was there to see O’Callaghan leave the taxing burden of swimming in all four relay events she was able to compete in from the 50m butterfly. O’Callaghan completed an impressive Aussie trifecta as McKeon took bronze and returning star Shayna Jack took home silver, bidding to give her best chance of winning the 100m freestyle.

Thorpe said of O’Callaghan: “We’ve seen her compete really well during this tournament.

“When she was behind Ariarne (Titmus) in the 200m (freestyle), she dropped out of a few events.

“If you’re watching what’s going on, she was preparing herself for the 100m freestyle against Emma and Shayna. It was an opportunity her team saw, blood in the water and a chance to take home a medal from the most successful man in many events.

Shayna Jack and Emma McKean congratulate the winner and Molly O’Callaghan, the gold medalist. Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP.Source: AFP

Well done to Molly O’Callaghan for taking advantage of the opportunity. Shayna Jack is swimming well. Congratulations to the Australians, all three are on the podium.

Large-than-life OCC coach Dean Bockle was the architect of the operation.

In a wild celebration at the Tokyo Olympics, Titmus beat American icon Katie Ledecky and collapsed in Birmingham Stadium, watching O’Callaghan – another of his students – push Titmus over the line in the women’s 200m freestyle.

You can imagine what his reaction will be on Wednesday.

Moments before she jumped into the pool, Thorpe noticed something in O’Gallen’s body language.

“What was interesting was watching Mollie O’Callaghan put on her glasses before the race. Her hands were shaking,” he said.

“And everyone thinks it’s just nerves. Yes, you’re nervous, but you’re nervous, and to do a good job, you have to get to a point where your anxiety is overwhelming, but it’s enough to cross the line.”

And that’s what happened.

At just 18, O’Callaghan beat the field in a personal best of 52.63 seconds, although he hit the wall in fourth place after the first 50m.

“I am very happy. And I’m glad I’m doing it with these amazing girls. Especially Emma. She is an absolute idol,” said O’Callaghan.

“It’s great to run with her at this point.

Especially when Shayna Jack is coming back from worlds (world championships) and stuff, I’m really happy.

Molly O’Callaghan (centre) was ready to hit. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

At the Tokyo Olympics, she won gold in the 100m freestyle against McKay, but was defeated by her country just a year later.

O’Callaghan impressed her swimming fans with a medal at the recent world championships in Budapest and proved the hype was true with a stunning effort to topple Australia’s queen of the pool.

The teenager won three gold medals and three silver medals in Budapest and was in contention for eight medals in England, but has made an apparent decision to sacrifice some events – including the relays – to target the 100m freestyle.

It was O’Callaghan’s first individual gold medal at a major international meet and came after he gave rising megastar Ariarn Titmus a major scare in the 200m freestyle final.

Jack was also sensational in the 100m freestyle final, donating McKeon as he succumbed to a doping ban and a broken arm for silver.

McCain was all class after the race as she paid tribute to her Dolphins teammates.

“It’s amazing. We get to push each other, year in and year out. And he raises the bar every time.” she told Channel 7’s Kate Campbell at the pool. “We’ve paved the way for us to do that, so we’re very lucky.

“After last year I had to keep pushing. And I know that all over the world young people come and these two always come back home to compete.

“I’m still as hungry as ever … to be here and with those girls in the 100m.” I am very pleased.

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