World Championships: Elijah Winnington Claims 400 Freestyle After Overhauling Lukas Martens Off Final Turn

WINNINGTON Elijah AUS celebrating Gold Medal 400m Freestyle Men Final Swimming FINA 19th World Championships Budapest 2022 Budapest, Duna Arena 18/06/22 Photo Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Photo Courtesy: Photo Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

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World Championships: Elijah Winnington Claims 400 Freestyle After Overhauling Lukas Martens Off Final Turn

Elijah Winnington went past Lukas Martens off the final turn to claim the first title of the 2022 World Championships in the men’s 400 free in Budapest.

The Australian won in 3:41.22 ahead of Martens (3:42.85) and Guilherme Costa in third in 3:43.31.

Winnington’s victory was the first for an Australian since Grant Hackett in 2005 and their sixth overall, joining Ian Thorpe, Kieren Perkins and Hackett in the roll of honour.

None of the medallists from 2019 worlds appeared in the final with Sun Yang banned, Mack Horton having failed to qualify in ninth and Gabriele Detti only entered in the 800.

Sun won four straight titles from 2013 to 2019 eclipsing the three successive world crowns claimed by the great Ian Thorpe between 1998 and 2003.

Of being in such exalted company, Winnington said:#

“Incredible. The last person I saw before going into marshalling was Mack Horton who is now the third best in our nation in the 400 freestyle.

And to think that I’ve gone a time faster than he did at Rio to win gold and that incredible battle with Sun Yang, I kind of have to pinch myself that the only person better than me in my country’s history is the great Ian Thorpe.

“We do have a great history in that event and not only that my coach Dean Boxall has a grat history in coaching many champions – Ariarne Titmus broke the world record about a month ago.

“All credit goes to him, clearly he is doing something right in that programme.”

It was in stark contrast to Winnington’s experience in 2021 when he arrived in Tokyo as a medal contender before finishing seventh.

The 22-year-old questioned himself and his future but Saturday’s result had banished all the doubts, his own and those of others.

He said:

“Exactly. I’ve worked really hard to get where I am mentally, not just physically – I was probably in this shape if not better last year.

“It’s really just a mental game now.

“I was chatting with Kyle Chalmers earlier this week and he goes ‘everybody on this international stage they put in work, they’re all talented, it’s a mental game, it is who’s tougher in the mind’.

“And with 75m to go – I don’t want to sound cocky or anything – but I knew in my mind I was going to be world champion, I knew I was going out-swim Lukas next to me and I knew I had it, I just didn’t know what time we were going.

“But it’s just one of those things that enjoyment brings confidence and like I say with my mind coach ‘fun is fast’ and that’s what brought it out tonight.”

He added:

“I think it was actually because I wasn’t focusing on results and focusing on outcome – I didn’t even have a goal time coming into this.

“You probably saw me walking out I was just looking around and enjoying the experience – it’s my first World Championships and my second individual international final apart from Olympics.

“This time around I just wanted to enjoy it and just enjoying it brings out the best in me.”


  1. Elijah Winnington (AUS); 3:41.22
  2. Lukas Martens (GER: 3:42.85
  3. Guilherme Costa (BRA) 3:43.31
  4. Felix Aubock (AUT) 3:43.58
  5. Marco de Tullio (ITA) 3:44.14
  6. Kim Woomin (KOR) 3:45.64
  7. Kieran Smith (USA) 3:46.43
  8. Trey Freeman (USA) 3:46.53