‘Animal’ Winnington Shuts Gold Medalist Horton Out Of 400 Free For Tokyo

SWIMMING AUSTRALIA OLYMPIC TRIALS

Day 1 of the Swimming Australia Olympic Trials wrapped up today in South Australia with a handful of swimmers’ names being etched onto the roster for Tokyo, Japan.

Among them were Elijah Winnington and Jack McLoughlin, the pair who finished 1-2 in the men’s hotly-contested 400m freestyle event. St. Peters Western’s Winnington powered his way to the wall in a big-time 3:42.65 for his first outing ever under 3:43, while veteran McLoughlin snagged silver in 3:43.27, also scoring a new best time.

This means that the reigning Olympic champion in the event Mack Horton was shut out, being rendered to 3rd place in a final result of 3:43.92. His time easily dipped under the Swimming Australia-mandated qualification time of 3:46.34, however, the 25-year-old Melbourne Vicentre will instead watch this race from the sidelines.

Horton’s time here ranks as the 8th fastest of his career, with his resume boasting a lifetime best of 3:41.55 at the 2016 Olympic Games. In fact, the top 4 finishers in this Trials would have all landed in that Rio final, with 19-year-old Tommy Neill logging a swift 3:44.51 for 4th place.

Entering this meet, Horton was seen as a question mark, with our meet preview detailing how the man hadn’t been under 3:50 since 2019 in this event.

On his performance today, Horton said, “I was just on the wrong side of the pool, breathing the wrong way, I literally gave it everything,” according to the Sydney Morning Herald. “Every time you turn in the 300m, you always question if there is another 100m in there. That was the same today, clearly not enough.”

Horton continued, “Very happy for the boys. Jack works his arse off, and he’s been working his arse off for years and Elijah’s obviously super talented and coming up through it, so hopefully they can keep creating the 400 legacy for Australia.”

There was some speculation that Horton wasn’t entirely rested for this meet, but we have not been able to confirm this. He still can try and qualify individually in the 200m free or as a relay swimmer for the 800m free relay, and has entries in the 800 and 100 freestyles individually as well.

As for Winnington, the Dean Boxalltrained ‘animal’ said post-race, “I had a little moment with Mack … and I pretty much told him that he’s my hero.”

“He’s an incredible swimmer and always will be an incredible swimmer so it means a lot that Mack would speak that highly of me. It means everything to me, I dreamt of this moment as a kid.

“It’s going to be a competition and I know that if you make it in the team in the 400 in Australia you are very much in contention for an Olympic medal, let alone an Olympic gold,” he said.

“So, I’m going to be doing everything and that’s sort of my focus now I’ve made the team and now my shift is to improve on that and see what I can do for Australia.” (ABC)

As for just how excited coach and mentor Boxall was with his protege, the embedded video excerpted from the Amazon Prime live stream should give you some idea.

 

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Corn Pop
1 year ago

Lmao Dean . Remember AT said he talks to her & says things that the boys in the squad can’t take.

Looks like Elijah can handle it too. BTW both coaches are Saffas.

Last edited 1 year ago by Corn Pop
Joel
Reply to  Corn Pop
1 year ago

Saffa?

Corn Pop
Reply to  Joel
1 year ago

A British term for the many successful South African expats . Now our DEANO is up there with the famous Saffas like Princess Charlene!
.

Last edited 1 year ago by Corn Pop
Eugene
1 year ago

Australia is a clear favorite for gold in 4×400 relay

FraserThorpe
Reply to  Eugene
1 year ago

As someone else also pointed out they’d also be favourite in the 8 x 4 mixed, and maybe the 4 x 4 mixed…

Marklewis
1 year ago

The seventh lap decided the race.

Horton split 28.92 and fell behind the other two. Then he couldn’t catch them down the stretch.

The 200 is his better chance. It looks like his endurance is off.

DCSwim
1 year ago

Mack protesting Yang by not swimming the 400. Bold move! /j

Joris Bohnson
1 year ago

Love the hype from Dean Boxall

GATOR CHOMP 🐊
1 year ago

Crazy. I don’t think the US will match this depth tomorrow but I think we’ll see at least 2 in the 3:43-4 range.

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
Reply to  GATOR CHOMP 🐊
1 year ago

I will be grateful for 1 swimmer to go sub 3:45

bobthebuilderrocks
Reply to  GATOR CHOMP 🐊
1 year ago

Off the top of my head, Kieran Smith, Jake Magahey, and Zane Grothe can be 3:43-3:44.

Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
Reply to  bobthebuilderrocks
1 year ago

Can’t see Grothe go under 3:45.

GATOR CHOMP 🐊
Reply to  Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
1 year ago

He’s been 3:44 before…

bobthebuilderrocks
Reply to  Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
1 year ago

Well, if I were looking at just his age (29), I’d find it tough to believe that an almost 30 year old can be competitive in a 400m event, but he went 3:39.3 back in October at ISL and that’s got to be around a 3:45 I think, so I don’t see why 3:44 is out of the question.

sven
Reply to  bobthebuilderrocks
1 year ago

Don’t think he’d be seeing performance degrade yet at 29, so he’ll still be competitive, but I agree that he’s unlikely to see sudden large improvements. The momentum is with the younger guys here, they know roughly what kind of ceiling to expect from him. If he does swim poorly, it won’t be because he’s 29.

Irish Ringer
1 year ago

One less protest, I guess. Dang, going a 3:43 and not making it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Irish Ringer
juggernaut
1 year ago

🤦‍♂️ It literally says in the article that he’s in the 800 and 1500 too

Admin
Reply to  juggernaut
1 year ago

It’s actually 800 and 100 – he’s not entered in the 1500.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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