World Championships: Felix Aubock Heads Qualifiers Into Men’s 400m Freestyle; Mack Horton Misses Out

FELIX FASTEST: Austria's Felix Aubock the fastest qualifier into the 400m freestyle.

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Felix Aubock Heads Qualifiers Into Men’s 400m Freestyle With Rio Olympic Champion; Mack Horton Missing Out

In the men’s 400m freestyle in Budapest it will be Austria’s Felix Aubock who leads the qualifiers into tonight’s opening final of these 19th World Championships.

The 22-year-old will be hoping he can add the World Long Course title to his World Short Course win last year in Abu Dhabi.

Aubock clocked a personal best time of 3:43.83 with a perfectly timed final 100m, after Australia’s Olympic finalist Elijah Winnington led the field through the first 200m under world record pace 1:51.02.

Winnington, a disappointing seventh in Tokyo, finished second in 3:44.42 and that’s where he qualified for the final ahead of Brazil’s Guilherme Costa (3:44.52).

But there was heartache for Winnington’s teammate, 2016 Rio Olympic champion, Mack Horton, third in the final heat but ninth overall – missing the final by the narrowest in margin, an agonising 0.10secs.

It was Horton’s individual international race return since his silver behind Sun Yang at the last World Championships in Gwangju in 2019.

Lingering in fourth place from this morning’s heat is Germany’s world ranked No 1 Lukas Martens (3:45.04) – who came into the meet on a 3:41.60 – and he is sure too be back in the podium mix in what will be a cat and mouse final.

His April performance of 3:41.60 sitting a second-and-a-half faster than anyone else has recorded since 2019.

The happiest qualifier came from the third of the five heats, which saw Korea’s Woomin Kim win the heat with a three second personal best of 3:45.87.