Horton not interested in 200m defence

Olympic champion Mack Horton says he has not considered defending his 200m freestyle crown.It seems sprint champ Cameron McEvoy can breathe a little easier ahead of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games swimming trials – Mack Horton is not interested in defending the national 200m freestyle crown.

But Italian distance great Greg Paltrinieri is firmly in Olympic champion Horton’s sights.

Horton upstaged McEvoy to become the first n man in nine years to claim the 200m-400m-1500m freestyle treble at a national titles in 2017.

Much to Horton’s surprise.

Horton said his focus at the trials starting next week would be the 400m, 1500m and a 4x200m relay spot after claiming he only won the 200m title last year by “accident”.

From lane eight, Horton left three-time defending champion McEvoy in his wake before mowing down Olympic gold medallist Kyle Chalmers to win the 2017 200m final – an event he entered for a “bit of fun”.

Rio 400m freestyle champion Horton said he had not even considered contesting the 200m yet ahead of the four-day Gold Coast trials from February 28.

“I haven’t discussed it (200m) yet because if it happens again it will be an accident again,” Horton laughed.

“I am just going for that (4x200m) relay spot.

“For Commonwealth Games the trials are shorter (than usual eight days) so it will all be about managing and balancing the events.”

National sprint champion McEvoy will no doubt be happy with Horton’s call as he eyes yet another 200m title ahead of the Gold Coast Games.

But world and Olympic 1500m champ Paltrinieri won’t be getting off so easily against Horton in future.

Horton’s focus is the Commonwealth Games but he has already cast his eye toward Tokyo 2020 after training alongside good friend Paltrinieri the last three months in Melbourne.

Paltrinieri is the undisputed 1500m king but Horton reckoned he could work out chinks in the Italian’s armour before the next Olympics.

While Horton is the Olympic 400m champion, his favourite is still the 1500m due to the event’s long and glittering history in n sport.

Asked if he knew how to beat Paltrinieri now, Horton laughed: “Yeah, but I am not going to tell you.

“He is very good though. It’s interesting to see him train and see him go in our program (in Melbourne).

“I don’t do anywhere near the distance work or 1500m pace work compared to him – that’s all he does.

“We do a bit of everything at training so it has been interesting to see how he handles it and how we handle it.”

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