2017 OCEANIA MALE SWIMMER OF THE YEAR: MACK HORTON
Compared to the dominating World Championships Australia had in 2015, this year was relatively quiet overall on the Oceanic front. Double world champions from Kazan, Bronte Campbell and Mitch Larkin, failed to carry that same spark into Budapest, but that doesn’t mean the green and gold Dolphins didn’t have its moments at the 2017 World Championships.
21-year-old Mack Horton was able to come away with the silver medal after another face-off with nemesis Sun Yang of China in the men’s 400m freestyle. The 2016 Olympic champion in the event, Horton headed into Budapest with a target on his back, but wasn’t able to hold off a charging Sun who ultimately won in 3:41.38 to Horton’s 3:43.85.
Horton did take advantage Sun Yang-less men’s 1500m freestyle, something that is becoming more the norm with the Chinese swimmer opting out of the grueling distance event. In the final in Budapest, Horton was able to nab the bronze medal in a time of 14:47.70, a mark that beat out the 14:49.54 he produced for 5th place in Rio.
Earlier in April of this year, the Melbourne Vicentre athlete turned heads when he was the surprise Australian national champion in the men’s 200m freestyle at this year’s national championships, beating out the likes of World Junior record holder and 100m Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers, along with mainstay racer Cameron McEvoy. His winning time of 1:46.83, although not entirely competitive on an individual level internationally, secured Horton as a valuable asset on the Aussie men’s 4x200m freestyle relay both in Budapest and ongoing.
(in no particular order)
Jack Cartwright – In the absence of sprinters James Magnussen and Chalmers in Budapest, the Australians needed another man to help keep its freestyle speed up to par relay-wise and on the individual level. 19-year-old Jack Cartwright delivered, as the relatively inexperienced competitor at the senior level made the men’s 100m freestyle final, while also carrying his weight in spades for the Aussie relays. After blasting a personal best 100m freestyle time of 47.97 in semi-finals to knock out the likes of Canada’s Yuri Kisil and Japan’s Shinri Shioura, Cartwright held on for a respective 7th place finish in the final in a time of 48.24. Although the Aussies were DQ’d in the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay, Cartwright scored a solid 48.34 lead-off, while also registering another key split of 1:45.33 to anchor the 4x200m freestyle relay.
Cameron McEvoy – McEvoy is still shaking off his demons from Rio, where the fastest 100m freestyler ever in a textile suit came away with zero individual medals. He finished in 5th place at the Australian National Championships in the 200m free this past April to find himself off of the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay in Budapest, but did race his way to the top of the podium in both the men’s 50m and 100m events in Adelaide. This year in Budapest, the 23-year-old found himself just off the podium in his 100m free signature event, clocking 47.92 to sit .03 out of a bronze in 4th place. McEvoy clocked 21.81 for the 7th fastest time of his career, which resulted in a 9th place position in the splash n’ dash.