Australia’s highly anticipated National Championships, which serve as the country’s Olympic Trials, kicked off in Adelaide today and already we saw one break-out performance.
19-year-old Mack Horton impressed his nation and beyond by racing to a gold medal in the men’s 400m freestyle in a lifetime best mark of 3:41.65. His previous swiftest performance was that of a 3:42.84 he rocked at last year’s Aussie Championships, so the distance ace dropped just over a second with tonight’s outing.
Horton’s split break-down reveals the teenager negative split the race, going out in 1:50.87 and bringing it home about a tenth quicker in 1:50.78, enough to not only stand atop the podium and book his ticket to Rio as part of the Australian Olympic team, but also put the 400m freestylers around the world on notice, moving into the number one spot in the world rankings.
However, another list took a hit after Horton’s achievement. With his swim, Horton moved way up on the storied swimming nation’s All-Time swimmers list.
The 3:42.84 Horton dropped last year is positioned was the 4th-fastest time ever produced by an Australian, but Horton improved 2 spots on the significant list to now rank as the 2nd-fastest performer ever. And, Horton bounced over a legend in order to do so; a legend who, ironically, swam in the same final as he did tonight.
Ian Thorpe holds the fastest Australian 400m freestyle time ever with the 3:40.08 he clocked in Manchester in 2002, but multi-Olympic gold medalist Grant Hackett was next in line with the 3:42.51 he produced in Fukuoka back in 2001.
In tonight’s race, 35-year-old Hackett, who returned to racing late 2014 after having been retired and out of the pool for 6 years, clocked a very respectable time of 3:48.84 to collect a 4th place finish. But he would end up watching Horton blow him by both in the pool and on the all-time list.
Besides just having legendary Hackett in his final heat tonight, it’s eye-opening to note that Horton was born in the same year in which Hackett won his first national title in this event.
AUSTRALIAN ALL TIME TOP TEN RANKINGS
Men’s 400m Freestyle
- 3:40.08 Ian Thorpe 1982 Manchester 30.07.02
- 3:41.65 Mack Horton 2016 Adelaide 07.04.16
- 3:42.51 Grant Hackett 1980 Fukuoka 22.07.01
- 3:43.71 David McKeon 1992 Adelaide 26.04.13
- 3:43.80 Kieren Perkins 1973 Rome 09.09.94
- 3:45.16 Ryan Napoleon 1990 Sydney 01.04.11
- 3:45.85 Jordan Harrison 1995 Adelaide 26.04.13
- 3:46.01 Robert Hurley 1988 Rome 26.07.09
- 3:46.54 Thomas Fraser-Holmes 1991 Sydney 01.04.11
- 3:46.64 Craig Stevens 1980 Sydney 22.03.08