Olympic Games | The Guardian
Mack Horton is set to fail to defend his 400m Olympic freestyle title in Tokyo after failing to make the Australian team.
Horton finished third in the final of the Australian selection process in Adelaide on Saturday night. Only the first two – Elihaj Winnington and Jack McLoughlin – were selected for the Tokyo Olympics next month.
On the opening night of the tests, there were Australian records for Emma McKeon (100 m butterfly) and Brendon Smith (400 m medley).
But Horton failed to secure the selection at the South Australian Aquatic Center, despite being nearly two and a half seconds after qualifying time. Winnington won in three minutes and 42.65 seconds from McLoughlin (3: 43.27).
Horton, who hit 3: 43.92, still has a chance to earn selection in the 200m freestyle, which will be played on Sunday.
Previously, McKeon had broken her own national 100 meter butterfly record and was at the world record pace until it faded in the final five meters. The versatile swimmer, who competed in up to eight competitions in Tokyo, won in 55.93 seconds, surpassing her previous Australian record of 56.18.
Swede Sarah Sjostrom holds the world record (55.48), and McKeon had no idea she was close to that benchmark. “That gives me confidence,” she says. “It’s a lot faster than what I’ve done in the last four years.”
McKeon, who won four medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics – gold and two silver in relays and a bronze in the 200m freestyle – said she benefited from postponing the Tokyo Games by one year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“That extra year definitely helped. I really feel a lot stronger and a lot more confident than I did last March, ”she said. “I was definitely ready and well prepared when the Olympics took place last year. This additional year prepared me even better. “
In the men’s over 400 m individual medley, the 20-year-old Smith set an Australian record of four minutes 10.04 seconds – a tenth of a second faster than Thomas Fraser-Holmes’ previous mark. The runner-up Se-Bom Lee also secured the Olympic selection by finishing within the qualifying time.