“I have very strong cramps. She comes and she goes. It’s something I’ve been working on and I don’t know,” O’Callaghan said. “There is definitely panic, there will always be panic. That’s something I have to work on.
“I was more worried about losing count [of my laps] To be honest. I don’t care if I’m completely dead, I have to get on that wall.”
Boxall added: “She was so happy. She and Kaylee are the best of friends. She has these huge cramps… she couldn’t move in the water. She was crying. We didn’t know if we could take her to the [medal] dais. She was in a lot of conflicts.”
In the 100m backstroke final, O’Callaghan, who is not swimming in individual freestyle events at these titles, placed second at the 50m mark before taking the lead with a 25m swim.
But it was McKeown who asserted her dominance when it mattered, as the Olympic champion came seemingly out of nowhere to hit the wall in 55.49, 0.13sec ahead of O’Callaghan in second.
“I knew I had to give it my all going home,” McKeown said. “I had a lot to catch up on. I got there.”
Meanwhile, Pallister took two individual gold medals in as many nights with an excellent performance in the 800m freestyle, more than six seconds ahead of New Zealand rival Erika Fairweather.
Pallister (8:04.07) led from start to finish (he was leading by 2.99 seconds at halfway) in the 32-lap event to hold off Fairweather (8:10.41) just as he did in the event 400 m the day before.
The 20-year-old’s shares continue to rise after bouncing back from the disappointment of missing out on selection for the Tokyo Olympics.
Pallister will also compete in the 1500m freestyle and hopes to win three individual gold medals.
“I think it’s something that everyone dreams of,” Pallister said. “I definitely didn’t come into this competition thinking that I would win three gold medals in the first two days of competition. It’s almost a dream come true.”
However, it is not always the gold medals that mean the most.
Isaac Cooper’s bronze medal in the 100m backstroke final, from lane one, was a great reward at the end of a brutal year.
Cooper said he had been to “hell and back” after being sent home from a training camp ahead of the Commonwealth Games earlier this year due to misuse of prescription drugs.
“My mom is probably crying right now,” Cooper said. “I know that I am proud of myself. I’ve been through hell and back this year. My parents have been by my side and have had to go through it. At the end of the day, whatever happens to me affects them too. They and my coaches… I know they would be proud to have me back. I thought it was over… I was in a difficult situation. Now I am standing on the podium for the first time”.
Watch the World Swimming Championships on Channel 9 and 9Now from 7:30 p.m.