2019 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
- All sports: Friday, July 12 – Sunday, July 28, 2019
- Pool swimming: Sunday, July 21 – Sunday, July 28, 2019
- The Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center, Gwangju, Korea
- Meet site
- FinaTV Live Stream
- Entry Lists
With the pool swimming competition of the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships kicking off in a matter of days, nerves and tension are building as swimmers prepare to vie for medals and records at the biggest meet outside of an Olympic Games.
Tension already existed between two heavy-hitting swimmers in the form of Aussie Mack Horton Chinese superstar Sun Yang, stemming from back-and-forth banter back at the 2016 Olympic Games. While competing in Rio, Sun Yang had splashed Horton while in the warm-up pool, with Horton telling the media, “He splashed me to say hi and I ignored him because I don’t have time for drug cheats.”
At the time, Sun responded by accusing Horton of playing mind games to destabilize him. “I don’t think I need to explain myself any further. I have done what it takes to prove I’m clean … all athletes should be shown respect. On the competition stage, every athlete deserves to be respected and there’s no need to use these sorts of cheap tricks to affect each other.”
Note: Sun is, however, facing a CAS hearing September.
Flash forward to today in Gwangju, Korea, and the pair were intentionally given a wide berth during a warm-up session. Per The South China Morning Post, Sun and Horton were slated to warm-up right next to one another in lanes 3 and 4 in the practice pool before Sun’s Aussie Coach Denis Cotterell moved the Chinese swimmer to lane 5.
Sun reportedly returned to lane 4 after the Aussie swim team left the pool.
Horton and Sun have traded wins over recent years, with Horton taking the 400m free gold in Rio, but Sun gained the World title in 2017 in Budapest. In fact, Sun is seeking his 4th straight 400m free World title.
Currently, Sun holds the fastest time in the world in the 400m free with a 3:42.75, while Horton is situated a ways back in 8th with a season-best 3:46.47. They will also come to a head in the 800m freestyle in Gwangju.