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Horton makes bold Rio statement

  • Horton makes bold Rio statement

    Mack Horton has set his sights on Australian swimming's greats after impressing at the Rio trials.

Poor vision has not stopped Mack Horton setting his sights on Australian swimming's greats ahead of the Rio Olympics.

The short-sighted swimmer who needs thick prescription goggles to compete has a bold vision - to be the nation's greatest 400m and 1,500m swimmer.

That will involve striking off some the sport's most revered names - Grant Hackett, Ian Thorpe and Kieren Perkins - from the record books.

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At just 19 Horton is well on his way thanks to an impressive Rio trials display.

Horton had made Rio rivals sit up and take notice with a world class 400m freestyle win on the opening night of the eight-day trials.

He produced a 3min 41.65sec personal best to claim 400m freestyle gold.

He overtook Hackett to move to No.2 on the Australian all-time 400m list behind only the great Thorpe.

The 400m win earned selection on his first Olympic team.

Now Horton plans to turn heads again with a fitting finale to the Olympic selection meet on Thursday night judging by his 1,500m heat time.

He blew off the cobwebs by clocking 14min 48.77sec - the world's second fastest time of the year.

It would have won bronze at last year's world titles.

Horton hinted that the sky was the limit for the final.

"I am just going to go as hard as I can and see where I end up," he said.

His personal best (14:44.09) sits third on the Australian all-time list behind just Hackett (14.34.56) and Perkins (14:41.66).

Not that Horton had to be reminded.

Since he was a kid Horton would study through his thick-rimmed glasses a list of the top 1,500m times he had placed on his bedroom wall, dreaming of the day he could slot his time amongst them.

After a remarkable recovery from a gastro bug that sabotaged his 2015 world titles campaign, Horton now wants to put his name on top - in both the 1,500m and 400m.

"It would be nice to be the fastest Australian in the 400m and 1,500m," Horton said.

Horton's eyesight is so bad that without his glasses or goggles he could "barely see my hand in front of my face".

So it was understandable Horton did not want to look too far ahead, balking at making Rio 1,500m predictions.

"I'm aware of the significance of the event but I don't want to put that pressure on myself," Horton said.

"Australia has a ridiculously good history in the 1,500m but I am just trying to do my own thing and be the best I can be."

Australia owned the 1500m Olympic from 1992-2004 thanks to Perkins and Hackett.

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