April 11, 2018 / 7:50 AM / 14 days ago

Commonwealth Games: Horton likely to ditch 1,500m freestyle before Tokyo

GOLD COAST, Australia (Reuters) - Australia’s Commonwealth Games 400m freestyle champion Mack Horton said he is unlikely to put as much focus on the 1,500m going forward after labouring to third place in the longest distance in the pool at the Gold Coast Aquatics Centre.

Swimming – 17th FINA World Aquatics Championships – Men's 400m Freestyle Preliminary – Budapest, Hungary – July 23, 2017 – Mack Horton of Australia competes. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

Horton, who became the first Australian since Ian Thorpe in 2002 to win the 400 at the Games, finished behind countryman Jack McLoughlin and Wales’ Daniel Jervis, who passed him in the final 300m.

“I think my body is telling me that’s where I need to be,” the Rio Olympics 400m champion said. “Not my last international 1,500m but I think my focus will shift a bit.”

Horton had said prior to the Games that he would be experimenting this year with the mix of his races, especially with the 800m freestyle being introduced for the men on the Tokyo Olympics programme.

It would be no surprise if Horton were to abandon the 1,500m to concentrate on the 200, 400, 800 and 4x200m freestyle relay in Tokyo.

While he won the 1,500m at the world junior championships in 2013, he has never really challenged the more dominant swimmers in the event, finishing second behind Canada’s Ryan Cochrane at the last Commonwealth Games and fifth at the Rio Olympics.

“We had a feeling that my body is getting more suited to 200, 400, 800 metres,” he said of what he had learned from the Commonwealth Games.

“After this week we kind of know what we need to do and where we need to shake things up.”

Swimming - Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games - Men's 400m Freestyle Medal Ceremony - Optus Aquatic Centre - Gold Coast, Australia - April 5, 2018. Gold medalist Mack Horton of Australia listen to the national anthem. REUTERS/David Gray

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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