Mack Horton to Give Up 1500 Free, Focus on 200-400-800 for Tokyo

Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr/Swimming Australia Ltd.

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Mack Horton, the Olympic gold medalist in the 400 free, told reporters after the Commonwealth Games that he will shift his focus away from the 1500 free, once his favorite event, in the lead-up to the 2020 Olympics.

Horton earned four medals at the Commonwealth Games, including gold in the 400 free and 4×200 free relay, silver in the 200 free and bronze in the 1500 free. It was his surprising silver in the 200 free (where he broke 1:46 for the first time) and his equally-surprising bronze (i.e., lower than what he expected) that helped Horton solidify his decision.

He intends to focus on the 200, 400 and 800 free events in the future. The 800 free was added to the Olympic program for the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

“I think you know what’s happening to the 1500,” Horton said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. “I don’t know if it’s my last one but it’s on its way out. With the 800 being added into the Olympic program I was either going to have to go 200-400-800 or 400-800-1500.

“It’s looking like 200-400-800. I did a PB in the 200 without actually training for it. I think we’re heading that direction.”

Horton added that his coach, Craig Jackson, known for a while that dropping the 1500 would be the right decision, and Horton began to realize that himself while training with Gregorio Paltrinieri, the Italian who is the Olympic and World Champion in the 1500.

Horton also said that he has no intention of adjusting his training routine despite the lineup switch.

Read more from the Sydney Morning Herald here.

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Author: David Rieder

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David Rieder is a staff writer for Swimming World. He has contributed to the magazine and website since 2009, and he has covered the NCAA Championships, U.S. Nationals, Olympic Trials as well as the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. He is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2016 graduate of Duke University.

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