Australian Horton misses Olympic selection for 400m freestyle

2021-06-13 02:06:10 GMT2021-06-13 10:06:10(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

CANBERRA, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Mack Horton will not defend his Olympic 400m freestyle title in Tokyo after failing to qualify for the event.

Horton, 25, on Saturday night, finished third in the final of the men's 400m freestyle at the Australian swimming trials in Adelaide.

In a close race, the top five finishers all came in under qualifying time but only the top two - rising star Elijah Winnington and Jack McLoughlin - earned selection for the Olympics.

Horton, who has been down on form in 2021, hit the front with 100m to go in the race and set his fastest time of the year with a 3:43.92 but was 1.3 seconds behind Winnington's 3:42.65.

It means he will not be able to defend the gold medal he won at the Rio Olympics but still has the chance to qualify for the 200m freestyle.

"I literally gave it everything, I mean as long as you give it your all," Horton said after the race.

"I thought I had it, to be honest, I was probably just the wrong side of the pool, breathing the wrong way.

"Very happy for the boys, hopefully, they can keep creating the 400 legacy for Australia."

Earlier on Saturday, four-time Olympic medalist Emma McKeon broke her own national 100m butterfly record en route to becoming the first Australian swimmer to qualify for the Olympics.

McKeon, who could compete in as many as eight events in Tokyo, was on track to beat the world record but faded late to set a time of 55.93 seconds.

She said she is in career-best form and has benefited from the games being postponed.

"Having that extra year definitely helped. I really feel a lot stronger and just a lot more confident in my ability compared to March last year," McKeon said.

"I was definitely ready and well-prepared if the Olympics were on last year. Having that extra year just got me even more ready."

The trials will continue on Sunday through June 17 at the South Australia Aquatic and Leisure Center. Enditem