GOLD COAST, Australia (Reuters) – Olympic champion Mack Horton ended a 16-year drought for Australia in the men’s 400 meters freestyle at the Commonwealth Games when he won the host nation’s first gold in the pool at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre on Thursday.
The 21-year-old had to chase down James Guy and Jack McLoughlin to win the title, pulling ahead in the final 100 meters to edge out compatriot McLoughlin and the Englishman to touch in three minutes, 43.76.
Horton was the first Australian champion in the race, seen as one of the premier titles on the program, since retired swimming great Ian Thorpe at Manchester in 2002.
Australia had held a virtual mortgage on the Commonwealth title from 1970 until 2002, winning eight of the nine golds before Scotland’s David Carry (2006) and Canada’s Ryan Cochrane (2010, 2014) broke their stranglehold.
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)