The old adage, ‘always the bridesmaid, never the bride’ sums up Australian Mack Horton‘s relationship with the Lorne Pier to Pub open water race in which the 21-year-old participates every year. The prestigious 1.2km race in Victoria, Australia is in its 38th year, with the ocean course running from the Lorne Pier to the foreshore in front of the GMHBA clubhouse.
Nearly 5,000 competitors, both amateur and professional alike, took to the course today, with Horton making his 3rd race appearance. Back in 2015 at just 18 years of age, Horton fell just short of winning when he was touched out by 7-time race champion Sam Sheppard. The same result transpired last year, as Horton led for most of the race when Sheppard caught a perfectly timed wave to enable him to get a jump on the beach sprint and ultimately finish just one second ahead of the Olympic gold medalist.
This time around, an entirely new name charged to the front of the pack, with 20-year-old Hayden Cotter taking the Pier to Pub title. Cotter registered a time of 10:54, with Horton finishing just seconds behind in 10:59.
Horton’s training partner, Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy, was right behind to round out the top 3 in 11:03. Sheppard fell back to 6th place this year.
Both Horton and Paltrinieri competed at the Victorian Open Championships just last night, where the dynamic duo battled in the men’s 400m freestyle. Horton wound up on top , winning in 3:51.38 over Paltrinieri’s mark of 3:51.80 and the pair were super close among the waves in today’s open water race.
Remarkably, Horton competed in both open water and pool swimming today. After racing in the Lorne Pier to Pub this morning, the 21-year-old Melbourne Vicentre swimmer represented his club at the end of tonight’s session back at the Vic Open as lead-off on their 4x200m freestyle relay. He earned a split of 1:52.84, while the foursome ultimately won the event in 7:30.06.