Olympic History: Rio 2016 (gold), Tokyo 2020 (bronze)
Year Born: 1996
State Born: VIC
Since coming into the Dolphins senior squad for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Mack has become one of the highest-profile and most respected members of the national team.
In his younger days, he was very much inspired by the likes of Kieran Perkins and Grant Hackett and in the 1500m freestyle in Glasgow, he swam a time, 14.48.76, that would have done them proud to claim the silver behind Canadian Ryan Cochrane. Although he narrowly missed the podium in the 400m freestyle, finishing fourth, he collected his first international gold medal as a 4x200m freestyle relay alternate.
Three weeks later at the Pan Pacs on the Gold Coast, he took home silver in the 800m freestyle and bronzes in the 1500m freestyle and the 800m freestyle relay along with David McKeon, Cameron McEvoy and Thomas Fraser Holmes.
He signalled with his 800m bronze behind Sun Yang of China and Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy at the world titles in Kazan in 2015 that he might be destined for greater things.
And so it proved at the 2016 Rio Olympics when he showed tremendous steel down the home stretch to hold off 2012 London dual gold medallist Sun Yang. Although he felt his arms had turned to rock over the final 25m, he somehow got to the wall first, beating the Chinese champion by a whisker, 3.41.55 to 3.41.68. He became the first Australian Olympic 400m champion since Ian Thorpe in 2000 and, amazingly, the first male swimmer from the state of Victoria to win Olympic gold.
Mack finished fifth in both of his remaining races in Rio, the 1500m freestyle and the 4x200m freestyle relay.
After claiming silver in the 400m and bronze in the 1500m at the 2017 world championships in Budapest, Mack took four medals home from the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, gold in the 400m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle relay, silver in the 200m freestyle and bronze in the 1500m.
At the 2021 Olympic selection trials, Mack fell short of qualifying for the 400m freestyle, placing third behind Elijah Winnington and Jack McLoughlin, he did place sixth in the 200m freestyle final, earning a spot in the 4x200m freestyle relay squad. He swam as an alternate in Tokyo while Alexander Graham, Kyle Chalmers, Zac Incerti and Thomas Neill brought Australia home in the final in third place behind Great Britain and the Russian Olympic Committee.
He qualified for the 2022 world championships in Budapest but placed ninth in the 400m freestyle – which was won by countryman Winnington in 3.41.22 – but was conspicuously more successful the following month at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games where he won gold as a member of the 4x200m freestyle relay and an individual bronze in the 400m freestyle. He rounded off the year at the world short course championships in Melbourne where he made certain of the silver with an anchor leg swim of 1.43.19. His team-mates were Neill, Chalmers and Flynn Southam.
On the 21st of January 2024 Mack Horton announced his retirement from international competition, bringing an end to his incredible service to the Australian Dolphins.
“I dearly wanted to swim in Paris (2024 Olympics) but the hunger wasn’t there. I always want to give my all and I am not someone who just wants to make up the numbers, so this is the right time to step away,” Mack said.
“I have felt so privileged to represent Australia and wear the green and gold … I just hope Australia thinks I did them proud. I am so grateful for my time in swimming and in regard to legacy, I hope my teammates and the sport think that I was able to help them and the sport in some way. And I hope they just remember me as Mack.”