For a myopic teenager who can barely see his hand in front of his face, Australia’s Mack Horton has a laser-sharp focus on his bid to restore his nation’s dynasty in the 1,500 metres freestyle.
Swimming’s most gruelling pool event holds a special fascination in Australia, which has produced an honour-roll of 1,500 champions since Andrew “Boy” Charlton at the 1924 Paris Olympics.
“I’m definitely aware of all the greats, Murray Rose, Kieren Perkins, (Grant) Hackett,” 18-year-old Horton told Reuters in a telephone interview of the legacy of Australia winning eight of the 24 Olympic titles in the race since the 1908 London Games.
“I’ve grown up through the Hackett era, so that’s probably what I know best.
“They’re massive shoes to fill … I’m just doing what I can do and do the best that I can do whilst enjoying it.”