400m freestyle Olympic Champion Mack Horton is taking on a new challenge now that he’s back to training since his post-Rio break. The 20-year-old is set to take on the open water, participating in the prestigious GMHBA Lorne Pier to Pub ocean race slated for January 7th.
Swimming in the Victoria, Australia race for a 2nd time, Horton fell just short of winning in 2015 when he was touched out by defending champion Sam Sheppard. Horton hopes to have a winning result this time around, however.
‘’I did it two years ago and despite leading all the way, I came second to Sam after he caught a good wave in,’’ Horton said. ‘’It’s a bit of fun but also something I would really love to win. I want to see my name up there.’
“I have a stroke more suited to the pool so it’s always difficult with the tides and the swell but I think any competitive swimmer wants a crack at this title. Everybody knows about this race.’’
The race has been going strong for 37 years, with approximately 4300 people expected to contest the 1.2km race. The course runs from the Lorne Pier to the foreshore in front of the GMHBA clubhouse. Proceeds from the race benefit the Lorne Surf Life Saving Club to help its voluntary lifesaving activities, according to the organization’s website.
An additional step Horton is taking this time around is packing some extra sunscreen in light of his recent health scare. In October, the Melbourne Vicentre swimmer took to social media to thank a fan for noticing a peculiar mole on the athlete’s chest. When Horton visited a medical office concerning the suspicious mole, doctors decided it was the best course of action to remove the mole sooner rather than later.
In a recent interview with The Herald Sun, Horton said of the situation, ‘’It wasn’t anything dangerous but it could have been and it has made me paranoid. I have a few moles on my body so now I’m super cautious.’’