A “warm and fuzzy” feeling enveloped the McKeon family after swimming siblings David and Emma followed in the footsteps of their parents and earned Commonwealth Games team selection in Brisbane.
But the vibe wasn’t so touchy feely not so long ago when David McKeon finally looked up video of his parents’ Commonwealth Games heroics at the AIS library in Canberra.
“He came home pretty animated. He said ‘you guys swim like s***. Technically you guys were terrible’,” dad Ron McKeon laughed.
However, their father was feeling the love again after his children were the first picked for the Glasgow Games swim team within minutes of each other at the national titles in Brisbane on Tuesday night.
David, 21, claimed a third straight 400m freestyle national title by winning in three minutes, 43.72 seconds – the world’s fastest time of the year and good enough to win 2013 world titles silver.
And 19-year-old younger sister Emma (1:55.68) was soon also Glasgow-bound after clocking an Australian record in the women’s 200m freestyle final.
“It’s one of those warm and fuzzy feelings that you get as parents,” Ron said.
Despite his honest assessment of his parents’ Commonwealth Games efforts on video, David did appreciate his family’s legacy in the pool – eventually.
“It was only a few years ago I noticed dad’s six Commonwealth Games gold medals on the wall at home – I never really saw them before,” he said of his father who was a dual Olympian.
David’s grasp of his mother’s Commonwealth Games history seemed just as tenuous.
He admitted to having no idea he’d booked a Glasgow berth at the same Brisbane pool in which his mother Susie contested the 1982 Games.
But his chest puffed out when speaking about his family’s heroics, which also included uncle and dual Olympian Rob Woodhouse’s 1984 Los Angeles bronze medal.
“There’s a great history with my family. It means a lot to me,” he said.
They may be a tight family but only tough love from their ex-coach Ron ensured David and Emma fired at the national titles in Brisbane.
After world No.2-ranked David failed to make the 400m final at last year’s world titles, Ron thought his son would take the next step under another coach – and away from their Wollongong home.
In the end it was Emma who took up the challenge, linking with coach Vince Raleigh in Brisbane in January – and David followed.
“I told them it wouldn’t be easy,” Ron said.
“They have had some battles living together, just the difficulties of being away from mum and dad for the first time, but they are dealing with it.”