Born April 25, 1996 Mack Horton is a decorated swimmer from Melbourne, Australia. Horton specializes in the distance events, and has made a name for himself at a very young age. His full name is Mackenzie, but he goes by Mack for short – Horton began swimming at 10 years old, which helped him overcome his fear of the water. And just three years after he joined the sport, he broke his first Australian record at 13 years old.
2012 Junior Pan Pacific Championships
Horton first represented Australia internationally at the 2012 Junior Pan Pacific Championships held in Honolulu, where he broke the meet record in the 1500-meter freestyle. He also picked up a silver medal in the 400-meter freestyle, and finished fourth in the 800-meter freestyle.
End to his junior campaign
In 2013 Horton competed at his last junior competition by swimming at the World Junior Championships in Dubai. Horton ended up winning five gold medals in the 400-meter freestyle, 200-meter freestyle, 800-meter freestyle, 1500-meter freestyle, 4×100-meter freestyle relay and one silver medal in the 200-meter freestyle. He also broke five meet records in the process.
Horton was named an ambassador for Speedo in April 2014 after completing an impressive season of swimming. Around the same time that he was named an ambassador, Horton was also named the winner of the Georgina Hope Foundation Rising Star of the Australian Swim Team.
After dominating much of the junior campaign, he was pulled up to his first senior competition in 2014, just in time for the 2014 Australian Swimming Championships. Horton made it on the Commonwealth Games Team, where he ended up winning a gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle relay. In addition to his gold medal swim, Horton also picked up a silver in the 1500-meter freestyle. In 2014 alone he’s taken 13 seconds off of his best time in the 1500-meter freestyle, putting himself in a good position for Rio 2016.
2015 World Championships
In 2015 Horton took home three national titles, and he qualified for his first World Championship Team in the 400-meter freestyle, 800-meter freestyle and the 1500-meter freestyle.
At the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Horton made his Championship debut in the 800-meter free. Going into the final ranked 5th, Horton took out the first 400 meters of the final quick — his split was faster than anyone else in the field. By the 500-meter mark, Sun Yang and Gregorio Paltrinieri had taken over the lead, and left Horton fighting to hold onto 3rd place. Despite a charging Connor Jaeger, Horton held on for a bronze medal and dropped three seconds from prelims in the process. Horton also competed in the 400-meter free, but failed to advance to the final after finishing 11th in the heats.
2016 Rio Olympics
In his Olympic debut, Horton won gold in the 400 meter freestyle on the opening night in Rio. He beat out China’s Sun Yang, touching first in 3:41.55. After the race, Horton made Olympic headlines when he called out Yang who served a three-month drug ban in 2014. Horton called his win over Yang a “win for the good guys.” China demanded an apology saying Horton launched a “malicious personal attack” on Yang. Horton, however, refused to apologize.
He also swam the 4×200 meter freesyle relay where he and his teammates, Thomas Fraser-Holmes, David McKeon and Daniel Smith finished 4th in 7:04.18. His final event in Rio was the 1,500 meter freestyle. He finished 5th in 14:49.54.