Australian swimming great Grant Hackett believes his country has unearthed its next Olympic 1,500 metres freestyle champion in 18-year-old Mack Horton.
Horton confirmed his status as Australia’s new long-distance king with an easy win in the 1500 final at the national championships on Friday.
Horton cruised to victory in 14 minutes 44.09 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year and the quickest ever by an 18-year-old, blowing away Hackett’s previous age record.
Hackett, who won successive 1,500 golds at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and Athens in 2004, has been watching Horton’s progress and feels the teenager can make a splash in Rio de Janeiro next year and set new world records.
“I always said Mack is the real deal,” Hackett told local media. “Not to put too much pressure on him, but he can win that (2016 Rio Olympics) race.”