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Hackett to inspire more 1500m swim heroics

10 April 2015

SWIMMING: A picture with Grant Hackett first inspired Mack Horton to take swimming seriously.

But main rival Jordan Harrison has the real thing for motivation ahead of what looms as a record-breaking national 1500m freestyle final on Friday night in Sydney.

A photo of a nine-year-old Horton posing with his idol Hackett at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games emerged this week on social media.

"That's what probably started it all," said world junior champion Horton, now 18, after he qualified fastest for the 1500m final.

However, it will not stop Horton setting his sights on breaking Hackett's national 18-year-old 1500m record which has stood for 16 years.

The national titles are the last chance for Horton (14 minutes, 48.76 second PB) to reel in Hackett's age record (14:48.76) before turning 19 on April 25.

However, Harrison has Hackett himself pool-side for motivation.

Dual Olympic champion Hackett is Harrison's teammate at Gold Coast club Miami.

And Harrison hopes to also rub shoulders with Hackett in the 2015 world titles team with a top-two 1500m finish.

At 34, Hackett has pulled off one of the great comebacks by earning 2015 world titles team selection at his first major meet since the 2008 Olympics.

Harrison is hopeful Hackett can also spark something from him.

"He will give me a little bit of advice," he said.

"It's awesome. He's my childhood hero.

"To have him training beside you is something money can't buy."

Harrison even reckoned Hackett's return made up for the Miami training squad's loss of world record holder Sun Yang.

The London Olympic champion was asked to leave their squad after a doping ban.

"Grant's back and he tells me what he did at training when he broke the world record, so I guess that makes up for it," he said.

Horton (15:26.66) cruised in the 1500m freestyle qualifiers on Thursday ahead of Harrison (15:28.95).

"I have a goal time (for the final) but it's a secret," Horton said.

Horton clocked the fifth-fastest time in history to claim a maiden 400m national title and backed up to win 800m gold.

But Harrison is no slouch.

He shattered the 15-minute barrier at the 2013 nationals when he clocked 14:51.20 - becoming the second-fastest 17-year-old in history in the event, behind only Kieren Perkins.

However, he has not hit the same heights since breaking his wrist last year.

AAP

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