Horton makes decision that will change his career
OLYMPIC champion Mack Horton has made the big call to ditch the fabled 1500m freestyle from his plans for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics even though it was the event that first hooked him on swimming.
Swimming insiders have sensed the shift in Horton's focus over the trials and Commonwealth Games but it will come as a major shock to fans because Horton is the 2017 world championships bronze medallist for the gruelling race.
Horton said something had to give with the addition of the 800m freestyle to the Olympic program for the first time in Tokyo.
On the Gold Coast, he had two triumphs, in his Olympic gold medal event over 400m and the pulsating 4 x 200m freestyle relay, but it was his 200m freestyle silver in a personal best time which clarified his thinking even more.
"For me the 200m was good, the 4x200 relay is super-exciting, I want to improve the 400m and I think you know what's happening to the 1500m," the lean Victorian said.
"I don't know if I've swum my last one (at a major meet) but it's on the way out.
"With the 800m added to the Olympics it was either go 200-400-800 or 400-800-1500 and it's looking like the former.
"I did that PB in the 200m here without actually training for it."
It's a matter of selecting his best events and Horton has seen the change coming for a while despite his love of the 1500m for which he has swum faster than two-time Olympic gold medallist Kieren Perkins and trails only another two-time Olympic champion, Grant Hackett, on the Australian all-time list.
"I've been in denial for a long time but I definitely still want to do all the endurance training because that's pretty much what gets me through in all my racing," said Horton who was usurped in the 1500m at the Games by gold medallist Jack McLoughlin.
Olympic 100m champion Kyle Chalmers gave former two-time world champion James Magnussen huge encouragement to keep swimming the sprints he has been such an integral part off since the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.
Retirement has been in the breeze for Magnussen at 26 but it would not seem like an Aussie 4x100m freestyle relay team without him.
"I'd be shattered to see him leave the sport. He is such a big personality, I like to listen to his stories and he likes to talk," Chalmers said.
"Maggie gets fired up in the marshalling room and I like that."
Chalmers, who finished with three golds, elevated the Commonwealth Games above even his Rio ride because he had family, friends and home fans roaring from the stands.
His super-slick 47.25 sec leg to mow down England's Ben Proud for the medley relay gold was a magnetic finale for the 28th and final gold in the pool on Tuesday night.
"The confidence was there the whole meet, I raced well from day one and being under the weather a bit on 100m freestyle night just kind of sucked with the blocked sinuses," Chalmers said of silver in his pet event.
"This was by far my favourite meet for Australia."
The hot relay leg is ammunition for Chalmers to step up against the Americans at Pan Pacs in Japan in August but world champion Caeleb Dressel has a clear gap on current times.
"I'm excited to race the Americans, the Brazilian sprinters, the Japanese ... all that racing is good for the year and what's ahead," he said.