2017 FINA WORLD SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Sunday, July 23rd – Sunday, July 30th
- Budapest, Hungary
- LCM (50m)
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The two participants in one of swimming’s most vocal rivalries took an opportunity to tone down the rhetoric after Sunday night’s 400 freestyle.
Winner Sun Yang of China and runner-up Mack Horton of Australia both tried to deflect some of the controversy in their post-race comments.
“A long time has passed since Rio, we both got stressed, we both calmed down,” said Sun, when asked how he felt about Horton’s comments earlier in the week, where Horton took aim at Sun’s 2014 suspsension following aositive test for Trimetazdine.
Sun also was optimistic that both he and his main rival would continue to show improvement in this event over the next quad. “I believe in this event, I will keep doing better and better and so will he.”
Despite some speculation that the podium would be awkward after the war of words between the two competitors, Horton said that wasn’t the case, and that it was “entertaining” and “fun” to have the two stars receive their medals side by side.
Horton didn’t take advantages of any opportunities to speak ill of Sun after the 400 free, focusing more on his own performance. His time of 3:43.85 was slower than the 3:41.55 he swam to win gold in Rio, and Horton expressed his disappointment with his own time.
However, Horton did imply that he wasn’t thrilled with the fact that Sun is coached by an Australian, Denis Cottrell, saying, “You are touching all my sore spots.” The longtime Aussie coach has drawn the ire of his countrymen for his willingness coach foreign swimmers, particularly those who have had drug-related sanctions.
The two freestyle stars swam in the same heat of tonight’s 200 free semi final, where Sun Yang displayed an incredible back half to qualify 3rd overall, but Horton finished 11th and will not advance to the final. However, Horton and Sun are scheduled to square off again in both the 800 and 1500 freestyles later this week.