Mighty Mack On 7-Gold Target With 7:45CR in 800

Mack Horton heads into the history books [Photo courtesy of Swimming Australia]

Mack Horton, 17, raced to his fourth gold medal of the 4th FINA World Junior Championships in Dubai in a green cap with gold writing in the manner of one who deserves to race in gold cap with green writing: in 7:45.67 he not only smashed the championship record by 10sec and rose to 5th in the world (all ages) this year but got past the great Kieren Perkins on the Aussie all-time list

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Mack Horton, 17, raced to his fourth gold medal of the 4th FINA World Junior Championships in Dubai in a green cap with gold writing in the manner of one who deserves to race in gold cap with green writing: in 7:45.67 he not only smashed the championship record by 10sec and rose to 5th in the world (all ages) this year but got past the great Kieren Perkins on the Aussie all-time list



I’m looking forward to seeing Horton’s shape in a 1500-metres freestyle. I didn’t like the Australian system which implements rock hard qualifying times for participating in the World Championships. What is the rationale behind it? As we can see now Horton might well have had a chance of medaling in 800m free, but – more importantly – he’d have been more experienced now.

Ruta surprised me. A very nice below 55-second performance in the 100-metres freestyle.


I must continue a bit as for Swimming Australia’s restrictive qualifying policy on selecting athletes.

Finnish Matti Mattsson’s record in a 200-metres breastroke was a 2:11.81 before the 2013 World Championships. An Australian qualifying time for the event was a 2:11.43. Had he represented Australia, he wouldn’t have qualifyied and claimed a bronze which did by posting a time of 2:08.95. Especially when it comes to youngsters they may achieve remarkable gains in their performances in a relatively short period of time.


I disagree with you, SwimFanFinland. I think hard qualifying times reflect the nature of our sport. 24.12 beats 24.13. Time 1:XX.00 makes Nationals, time 1:XX.01 does not.

I think, too, that holding Horton back from Barcelona, from an athlete development perspective, is exactly the right thing. From the looks of it, he’ll have plenty of time to swim at the senior level. Let him build confidence at the junior level.


Splendid! Congrats to Mighty Mack … cheering him on to seven golds! Honors to Craig Jackson!


Haha, it seems people begin to take Mack’s new nickname on board that Swimvortex used for him, I mean “Mighty” Mack Horton.


Thoroughly agree with you TedBaker re Australia’s qualifying policy plus the fact that these swimmers need to crawl before they can walk! Senior level a whole different ball game to what these kids are experiencing now …… This type of competition is really great for dipping their toes into the wide world of swimming


Well done to “The Buddy Holly ” of world swimming !

Clive Rushton

Totally agree with Ted Baker. If a qualifying standard is set at 1:xx.00 and you allow 1:xx.01, then why not allow 1:xx.02, xx.03 and so on ad infinitum. A standard is a standard. Do, or do not.

On another note: what is this with medals to heats swimmers? It’s nonsense.


Are you saying Olympic heat swimmers shouldn’t win medals either Clive? Not exactly anything new…..
Australia should have let another brilliant teenager Alexander Graham compete in Dubai instead of sending him to Barcelona in which he failed miserably in the heats of the 4×200.


I find it surprising how solid support the Aussie policy seems to enjoy. I just wonder the nature of World Championships we would have if every nation sent only athletes having clear prospects of either medaling or making a final. Why not just take eight fastest swimmers from the FINA rankings of every year and invite them to the meet. It’d be just finals and medal prospects. Fast meet, quickly over and that’s it.

If you’re not in a final at the World Championships, it doesn’t mean you weren’t worth your trip. Anyway, it seems it is the major rationale behind the policy Swimming Australia is applying. I really disagree with the rationality of the policy, but it’s just IMO though.


It’s a good question whether heat swimmers of relays should be awarded with medals.

I’d say it shouldn’t be possible to use heat swimmers in the first place, barring illness. A team consists of four persons. Why, let’s say, Ruta Meilutyte cannot use a heat swimmer in a 100-metres breastroke as it’s perfectly clear she will eventually fight for a gold in the final?


Swimming aus set their times and the swimmers knew them, I think they were too strong but they wanted to onyly send the best to Barcelona, the problem is there is no discretion in the policy, fina should say nanyone who make top 10 in the world (say) in qualifying should be included, otherwise it somewhat reduces the authenticity of the world championship. The Olympics are for a fair go for all the worlds should be the best of the best. Having said that fingers crossed for mack in the 1500 on sat. If ever a win was deserved that is it.


We’ve had a big to and fro over the argument of hard qualifying times in Denmark for the last few years. Despite not being a swimming superpower, the Danish qualifying standards are usually reasonably tough, which for instance resulted in us only having 4 swimmers in BCN despite having quite a few other swimmers with B cuts who could have benefited from the experience (including one or two still classed as juniors).

One argument for this is economical, as a small country with a sport which does not have the biggest commercial interest, sending large teams with lots of swimmers who will not necessarily make a final is tricky.

Another argument is that if those younger or less experienced swimmers don’t do so well under the pressure, it will cause a negative effect on team morale that will affect others in the team.

But it’s interesting that one of the reasons former Danish head coach Paulus Wildeboer gave for the relatively disappointing Olympics last year was that very few of the swimming team had previous Olympic experience…


Nice arguments, DanishSwimFan.

I didn’t know Denmark applies restrictive policy on selecting athletes too, meaning having tougher standards than the ones set by FINA. Finland, and I believe the great majority of smaller nations as well, send every athlete accepted by FINA. As far as I know, the USA always sends a full quota as well. Seems to work for them. I believe in giving people a chance and trust, not making them crawl.

The possibility to gather experience is an important argument for why the restrictive policy on selecting athletes should not be exerted. We’ve seen it before how newcomers collapse under the pressure. I’d argue it’s better if you are not expected to win at your first international Championships, but the tough qualifying standards may lead to that outcome.

Moreover, FINA’s cuts are not easy to achieve and we never know what life brings to us. What about if an athlete got injured or fell permanently ill? Many do. A chance to enter the Worlds may be the only one you ever get and applying tough standards may mean ripping youngsters off of their dreams of attending the World Championships. If you’ve proven yourself to the World, it should be enough.

There may be economical reasons, of course. If people of a country decides, politically, that sport is not something at which public funds should be directed or money is more desperately needed elsewhere, I can’t blame them on that. But it’s not clearly it when it comes to Australia as they have money to send a huge junior team to Dubai. Actually, I don’t believe it’s about money issue as for Denmark either. 🙂


No, I don’t think money is the reason either, particularly as swimming just got more money from Team Denmark, just that obviously spending public money has to be seen to be justified 🙂

Clive Rushton

felixdangerpants (Craig, is there an award for the best name?),

Yes, that exactly what I’m saying.

Craig Lord

🙂 context? who he?


There are several countries who post strict qualifying times such as Japan who only had Kitajima swim the 100 at world champs…Australia’s strict qualifying times certainly have not helped them in London and Barcelona. Many members of both teams have saved themselves for the final at Trials knowing the time they must achieve and then have failed dismally at the big stage as they are unable to swim a fast heat and semi. I like the way the French selected their team for London….they had to make certain times in heats, semis and finals to compete individually. The Americans perform so well when it counts as they are so used to having to perform.


In the above, swimmum mentioned that Australian tough qualifying policy is needed to make their swimmers crawl before they walk.

Unfortunately, as we have witnessed in London and Barcelona, it only made their swimmers walk in the trials and crawled in London/Barcelona.
(I’m looking at McKeon, Graham, Wright, etc etc. etc.)

Craig Lord

Clive… got you now… I hadn’t seen that comment… felixdangerpants: you’re on the list for year-end awards 🙂

Craig Lord

Dangerpants from Nelson Bay sums up an age-old msg that many still stuggle with around the world. One of the key messages Bill Sweetenham brought with him to Britain back in 2000-2001 was a “% time from PB”, within which swimmers had to race in heats, semis, finals, as a consistent all-meets exercise. Many didn’t like it, struggled with it. Some let it slip from their regimes the moment the msg was not in their ear all the time. As Dangerpants notes in his last sentence, Americans often have to perform tough many times over in a season as preparation for a qualification harder in most cases than that of any other nation in the world, yar in, year out, generation come and go, the bar constantly high (and if not then raised), season after season.

Craig Lord

Also worth making the point, aswimfan, that even then Australia remains a very strong swim force that knocks spots off most other countries, USA apart…. and many of those nations that don’t do trials rely entirely on 1, 2 and 3 swimmers at most for all their success, standards beyond those few in the vast majority of events woeful well before you fill every lane in a domestic final.


Craig, do you know if Siohan Haughey is eligible to swim for GB? If we can steal her and Ruta we’d be in good shape!

Craig Lord

All swimmers are eligible to swim for whom they like if they opt to switch nations… which is what would have to happen… HKG has its own Olympic affiliation beyond China

Craig Lord

a P.S to that not in the rush… in answer to your question David … I’m not sure if she has British parentage but she would still have to sit out a year if she ever wished to race for Britain.


Yep, if any swimmer wants to represent another country from their current one, they will have to do it in the next year, as they should not represent their current country in 2015 Kazan.

Elly Gandy (formerly Ellen Gandy) represented GBR in 2012 London and she had to wait for a year until she was able to reperesent Australia in Eindhoven World Cup.

Gandy’s process was seamless because of GBR-AUS dual nationality or something, but I cannot imagine the process would be as fast for Ruta if she wants to apply for UK citizenships.


an example;

Morozov application to have US passport and to represent USA in 2012 London took so long that he decided to keep representing for Russia instead.

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