Mack Horton was today presented as the winner of the Georgina Hope Foundation Rising Star of the Australian Swim Team at the 2014 Hancock Prospecting Pan Pacific Swimming Championships on the Gold Coast.
After finishing second in the 1500m at the 2013 Australian Swimming Championships Horton went on to compete at the FINA World Junior Championships in Dubai where he blitzed the field to take home an incredible five junior world titles.
With international racing experience under his belt, Horton then made the transition to the senior team after winning the national title in the 1500m freestyle at the 2014 Australian Championships.
The 18-year-old then made his senior Australian team debut at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games where he won a silver medal in the 1500m freestyle and shortly after won bronze in the same event at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships on the Gold Coast.
Horton also stepped up to win silver in the men’s 800m freestyle and will no doubt continue his rise up the ranks of international swimming.
Horton said he was thrilled to take home the award.
“This year has been a massive stepping stone for me, coming on to the senior team and making my international debut at the Commonwealth Games, I’m pretty proud of my results this year,” Horton said. “It feels like all my hard work has paid off and being able to back up with two big competitions this year has given me more confidence for the future and I’m really excited to see how far I can go.”
“Obviously I’d like to thank the Georgina Hope Foundation for their ongoing support, to be able to dedicate myself to the sport knowing that I have the backing of the Foundation is a good feeling,” Horton said.
The Award is part of a new annual program announced today by Swimming Australia and generously supported by Ms Gina Rinehart through the Georgina Hope Foundation and Speedo Australia.
The program recognises standout young talent in the Australian Swim Team across the Olympic, Paralympic and Open Water disciplines.
A rising star is chosen for each discipline and presented with $5,000 each in prize money. The winner of each discipline must have represented Australia at no more than two benchmark meets to be eligible.
The winners of the Paralympic and Open Water disciplines will be announced later this year at the Swimmer of the Year Awards.
President of Swimming Australia John Bertrand said that it was incredibly important to recognise outstanding new talent in the Australian Swim Team.
“Our rising stars are the future of our sport. Swimming Australia places great importance in supporting all our swimmers through their daily training and team environments to place them in the best possible position to achieve their goals”.
“Through the generous support provided by Ms Gina Rinehart through the Georgina Hope Foundation all our swimmers already receive direct athlete funding that aids this support system, and now through this Award scheme there is an additional opportunity for our younger team members to earn further funds to support their future.
“Swimming Australia thanks Ms Gina Rinehart for her extraordinary support of swimming, a sport that is part of our countries DNA”.
Mrs Rinehart said, “we are very proud to support these great young ambassadors for Australia on the world stage, and wish them all the best with their endeavours ”
“This is a very exciting time for Australian Swimming and those who want to see our great Aussie swimmers do well. Our swimmers have an improved culture and focus on teamwork, professionalism, and excellence. Hancock Prospecting, the Georgina Hope Foundation and I appreciate the great sacrifices these young people make to swim and compete at this top level and to represent our country ”, Mrs Rinehart said.
“We are seeing records broken at these Pan Pacs and terrific performances from all the competing countries. The Australian swim team and the newly built Gold Coast Aquatic Centre are displayed to the vast international television audience, and credit must also go to Network TEN for the free-to-air national coverage to Australians in prime time”, Mrs Rinehart said.
“Success in the pool has been an important driver of Australia’s national pride throughout our history ” Mrs Rinehart said.
Swimming News courtesy of Swimming Australia.