Adelaide (Australia) (AFP)
Olympic 400-meter champion Mack Horton will not defend his title in Tokyo after failing to qualify at the Australian trials on Saturday, stunned by Elijah Winnington who has swam the fastest time in the world this year.
Horton, who beat drug-contaminated Chinese star Sun Yang for the title in Rio and then refused to step on the podium with him at the 2019 world championships, has struggled for form this season.
The 25-year-old had to pass the first day of testing in Adelaide and he gave his all, but his 3 minutes 43.92 seconds was not enough despite being one of the fastest in the world in the over the past 12 months.
He was narrowly ahead at 300m, but Winnington came back strong to win in a blazing time of 3: 42.65 with Jack McLoughlin (3: 43.27) edging out Horton for second place with only the top two leading the way. note.
“It’s really amazing,” said Winnington, 21. “I have changed coaches over the past year and it has been amazing for me. We did so much work and that’s why I had full confidence in my last 100. “
Although he missed the 400m, Horton could still fly to Tokyo in the 200m on Sunday.
Swimming Australia has set the bar very high in the six-day practice – to qualify, athletes must match or exceed the time needed to qualify for the 2019 World Championships final.
A maximum of 56 swimmers – 28 men and 28 women – can be selected in a sport that has traditionally been Australia’s backbone at the Olympics.
Emma McKeon, who was part of Australia’s 4 × 100m relay team that won gold at the Rio 2016 Olympics, was also on fire, setting the second fastest time in the world of the year in the 100m butterfly. to qualify easily.
# photo1 The 27-year-old broke the world record before touching a 55.93, behind only China’s Zhang Yufei (55.73) this season as she focuses on Swedish Sarah’s 2016 world record Sjostrom with 53.48.
“I haven’t done a PB in this event since 2017 so it’s been a while and I felt like it was about time,” she said after setting a new Commonwealth record and d ‘Australia.
“It’s not a relief, just joy, it’s been a long time since everyone arrived,” she added of a difficult year affected by Covid.
Brianna Throssell was second in 57.11, slightly out of qualifying time.
McKeon, who won four medals in Rio, is shaping up to be one of Australia’s top prospects in Tokyo. She will also run the 50m, 100m and 200m free in Adelaide.
Brendon Smith also broke an Australian record in the 400m individual medley, hitting the wall in 4: 10.04 to comfortably qualify in the fourth fastest time in the world this season.
Lee See-Bom swam a new personal best to finish second and also be part of the Tokyo squad.
“I had a pretty good block of training recently. I knew (the record) was on the cards, but I needed a really good race to do it, ”said Smith.
Surprisingly, neither the whimsical Zac Stubblety-Cook nor Matt Wilson recorded the fastest times in the 100m breaststroke.
Stubblety-Cook hit first in 59.69, but outside of the 59.21 required, former 200 breaststroke world record holder Wilson was fourth.
Wilson will try to climb to the 200m level on Tuesday.
© 2021 AFP