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Horton surpasses Hackett as six qualify for Rio

7 April 2016

SWIMMING: Australia’s swimmers delivered a perfect score on night one of the 2016 Australian Swimming Championships in Adelaide on Thursday night – producing six out of six qualifiers for the Rio Games.

The swim of the night camewith the "Mack attack" in the 400m freestyle when 19-year-old Mack Horton from Melbourne Vicentre secured not only a gold medal but his qualification for Rio and his first Olympic Games, after going so close four years ago, clocking the fastest time in the world this year in a personal best time of 3:41.65. 

“I’m happy with that, and happy to be on the team, but I still want to go faster,” said Horton, who was diagnosed with a microscopic parasite bug after returning from the World Championships last year. 

“To be in medal contention last year and for it to all go wrong – it is great to be back in medal contention and prove that I can be there. I am really looking forward to it.” 

With Olympian father Ron and family cheering him on, David McKeon (Chandler, QLD) booked his ticket to his second Games, placing second in a time of 3:45.09. McKeon’s teammate Jack McLoughlin swam 3:46.27 to place third – swimming his second personal best time in one day.

In his comeback Championships a brave Grant Hackett finished fourth and will take confidence into his 200m freestyle heats Friday morning.

Horton overtook Hackett on the Australian All Time rankings – and he now sits second on the Top Ten list behind dual Olympic champion Ian Thorpe (3:40.08) who presented the medals in a special night for the 400m freestylers. 

And Horton’s final word: “It’s pretty insane really (to swim past Hackett)…hopefully one day I can get number one…” 

Meanwhile self-proclaimed “comeback kid” Blair Evans made the Australian team for the first time since the London Olympics, and checked in for her second Olympic Games with an impressive swim of 4:35.26 to win the women’s 400m Individual Medley. 

“It’s been a really hard-fought three or four years for me,” Evans said. 

“We were aiming for this sort of time for trials but there has been a few hits and misses in training the last few weeks with injuries. But to be able to come out and have such an enormous swim and a lifetime PB for me. I am so extremely happy.” 

Keryn McMaster (Chandler, QLD) is set to make her Olympic debut, posting a A-qualifying time of 4:37.94 to place second behind Evans. Her Chandler teammate Ellen Fullerton was third in 4:39.72 

Earlier in the night Thomas Fraser-Holmes and Travis Mahoney were the first to book their places on the plane after finishing 1-2 with qualifying times in the men’s 400m Individual Medley. 

London Olympian Fraser-Holmes (Miami, QLD) was relieved and excited to secure his second Games berth after winning in 4:11.09. 

“It’s very satisfying,” he said. “I never thought as a kid that I would get to go to one Olympics let alone two. I am very, very proud of what I have achieved tonight. 

“The last week has been really nerve-wracking. Just to qualify for the team is a hard thing in itself. 

“Swimming is a very demanding sport both physically and mentally. I think I have a great ability to focus when I don’t want to lose and tonight I think that is what it was all about.” 

Mahoney (Nunawading, VIC) posted a personal best and an Olympic qualifying time of 4:14.98, an emotional achievement for the 25-year-old. 

“I’ve had a really tough year,” Mahoney said. “My auntie passed away last November after a nine year battle with cancer. She battled for so long and she was my inspiration and I am just so happy I could do it for her.” 

Teenager Clyde Lewis (St Peters Western, QLD) posted a huge personal best time of 4:16.58 to place third and make waves as one to watch in the future. 

GALLERY of images from the three Olympic events from night 1 of the final>>>

The following athletes achieved the Olympic standard and are eligible for nomination to the Australian Olympic Committee for selection on Thursday 14 April.

RESULTS - 2016 Swim Trials Finals in Olympic Events

Thursday 7 April

400m IM Men

Thomas Fraser-Holmes 4:11.09         Rio would be 2nd Olympic Team

Travis Mahoney – 4:14.98 PB             Rio would be 1st Olympic Team 

400m IM Women

Blair Evans – 4:35.26 PB                    Rio would be 2nd Olympic Team

Keryn McMaster - 4:37.94                  Rio would be 1st Olympic Team 

400m Freestyle

Mack Horton -  3:41.65 PB                  Rio would be 1st Olympic Team

David McKeon                                      Rio would be 2nd Olympic Team

Heats will start at 11:30am AEST and will be live streamed at http://www.swimming.org.au/live-streaming.aspx

COMING UP ON DAY 2 

Day 2, Friday 8 April is “Swim Like a Girl”. Highlighting Day 2 will be the women’s 100m butterfly, 100m breaststroke and 400m freestyle. Read all about it here >>> 

With thanks to Swimming Australia

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