Mack Horton to Swim 400 Free at World Championships Despite Not Making Qualifying Standard at Nationals

Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr/Swimming Australia Ltd.

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2016 Olympic Champion Mack Horton will swim the 400 free at the World Championships in Gwangju in five weeks. Horton did not make the qualifying standard for the event at the Australian Nationals this week, placing second behind Jack McLoughlin with a 3:46.47. Swimming Australia set the time standard to get to Worlds at 3:46.14.

McLoughlin won the final with a 3:44.34 on Monday.

But according to The Sydney Morning Herald, Horton will be swimming the 400 free at the World Championships. He also made the Worlds team by placing fifth in the 200 free final, earning himself a spot for the 4×200 free relay.

Swimming Australia’s head coach Jacco Verhaeren said he expected Horton to rebound strongly in five weeks despite swimming below his best in Brisbane. His time was inside the FINA standard but he would need to shed seconds in a hurry to be competitive in a world championships final.

“He may not have been rested enough, I am guessing here… there is no clear answer,” Verhaeren told The Sydney Morning Herald. “We will run a few tests after this week to go a bit more in depth.

Swimming Australia has shown they are not concerned with Horton’s performances at Nationals.

“You have to look at why that didn’t happen and what did we miss here, we haven’t got that answer yet but I am confident we will find it. He is an Olympic champion, it’s not a panic situation… he could turn it around in weeks.”

Horton was the silver medalist in the 400 free at the 2017 World Championships behind China’s Sun Yang. He also was the Commonwealth Games gold medalist in 2018 in the 400 and had the second fastest time from any of the major meets last summer, again behind Sun. Horton is currently eighth in the world rankings in the 400 free.

Swimming Australia shifted their trials closer to the major meet at the end of the summer to mirror that of what USA Swimming does. The Australians saw success in this new approach last summer at the Pan Pacific Championships in Japan. Verhaeren is hoping this momentum continues in to Gwangju in five weeks.

“Our goal is unchanged from last year and the year before. We put an emphasis at being better at the benchmark event that trials,” Verhaeren told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“We did well at that at Commonwealth Games and at Pan Pacs… the conversion rates [being faster at the event than the trials] there were 60 percent. That’s double what we had for Rio. To win when it matters, to be at your best when it matters, is way more important.

“You want to see times close to world class and this is why our selection standards are so strong. They have achieved that … now it’s time to convert.”

Results from Monday

Event 5  Men 400 LC Metre Freestyle
        World: W 3:40.07  26/07/2009Paul Biedermann, Germany
 Commonwealth: C 3:40.08  26/07/2002Ian Thorpe, Australia
   Australian: A 3:40.08  30/07/2002Ian Thorpe, SLC Aquadot
   All Comers: R 3:40.54  27/03/2002Ian Thorpe, SLC Aquadot
         WCQT: Q 3:46.14
 Meet Qualifying:  4:05.37
    Name            Age Team              Prelims     Finals  FINA       
                          === Finals ===                          
  1 MCLOUGHLIN, JAC  24 CHAND             3:48.09    3:44.34Q  943  
    r:+0.66  25.88        53.97 (28.09)
        1:22.52 (28.55)     1:51.02 (28.50)
        2:19.54 (28.52)     2:48.26 (28.72)
        3:16.80 (28.54)     3:44.34 (27.54)
  2 HORTON, MACK     23 MVC               3:50.50    3:46.47   917  
    r:+0.72  26.11        53.96 (27.85)
        1:22.46 (28.50)     1:51.26 (28.80)
        2:20.20 (28.94)     2:49.05 (28.85)
        3:18.08 (29.03)     3:46.47 (28.39)

Swimming Australia’s Worlds Team

Minna Atherton Brisbane Grammar
Bronte Campbell Knox Pymble
Cate Campbell Knox Pymble
Kyle Chalmers Marion
Thomas Fraser-Holmes Griffith University
Alex Graham Bond
Madeleine Gough TSS Aquatic
Jess Hansen Nunawading
Mack Horton Melbourne Vicentre
Shayna Jack St Peters Western
Mitch Larkin St Peters Western
Clyde Lewis St Peters Western
Cameron McEvoy TSS Aquatics
Emma McKeon Griffith University
Kaylee McKeown USC Spartans
Jack McLoughlin Chandler
Kiah Melverton TSS Aquatic
David Morgan TSS Aquatic
Leah Neale USC Spartans
Zac Stubblety-Cook West Brisbane Aquatic
Jenna Strauch Bond
Matt Temple Nunawading
Brianna Throssell UWA West Coast
Ariarne Titmus St Peters Western
Madison Wilson Marion
Matt Wilson SOPAC
Bradley Woodward Mingara Aquatic
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Jenni Thompson
4 years ago

Dylan Thom

4 years ago

So the Aussie World Championship qualifying times are….. fungible?

Fay Campbell
4 years ago

Why. ? If he hasn’t qualified.

4 years ago

I’d imagine it is similar to Australia allowing Ian Thorpe to swim the Olympic 400 Free one year after he false started and was disqualified in the event at their trials meet. He then went on to win the Gold medal, I believe.

Steve Day
4 years ago

He qualified in the relay and if there’s not 2 swimmers qualified in the event he can swim it

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