Mack Horton, winner of the men's 1500m freestyle at the Australian Swimming Championships.
Mack Horton, winner of the men's 1500m freestyle at the Australian Swimming Championships. GLENN HUNT

Mack Horton claims national titles trifecta

OLYMPIC champion Mack Horton has become the first man since Grant Hackett in 2008 to claim the distance trifecta with victory in the 1500m freestyle on the final night of competition at the national titles.

Horton won the 200m, 400m and 1500m at Chandler on Thursday night but has yet to decide if he will keep the 200m in his schedule for the world championships.

It doesn't happen often but the Olympic 400m champion was upstaged by another distance swimmer - teenage sensation Ariarne Titmus - who announced herself as the next big star of Australian swimming when she smashed her personal best by four seconds to claim the 400m women's crown.

The 16-year-old from Hobart, who now swims out of St Peters Western in Brisbane, also won the 800m and is on a collision course with US sensation Katie Ledecky in Budapest.

It was also a memorable meet for Emma McKeon who produced a personal best of 2.07.37 to claim her third national title of the meet in the 200m butterfly.

She also won the 100m butterfly and the 200m freestyle and finished second in the 100m freestyle in a qualifying time.

Emily Seebhom, who qualified for a record-equalling sixth world championships team, also had a superb week finishing with victory in the 200IM, the 21st national title of her career.

Due to the unavailability of several seasoned stars, there is a mix of youth and experience in the side selected to go to Hungary.

Head coach Jacco Verhaeren said Australian swimming was in a transition period and it was important for long term planning for the Tokyo Olympics to blood new faces.

"It's truly exciting; because it is a reflection of where we are at this year," he said.

"It is a true transition year but with the right people on board for a world championships, not all medal winners because you can't expect that from a young team as this, but it is a very important step in their careers."

Jess Ashwood is the latest Olympian to pull out of the team.

Ashwood qualified for the 800m freestyle on opening night but did not race in the 400m after informing Swimming Australia officials she was not available for the team because she has decided to fulfil university commitments this year.

Former world champions Cate Campbell and James Magnussen and Rio Olympians Thomas Fraser-Holmes and Maddi Groves are others who made themselves unavailable.

Verhaeren said he had approved the training programs of the swimmers who won't be competing in Budapest.

All the swimmers remain on Swimming Australia funding for the year.

"I'm okay with people who withdraw from a team as long as its backed up by a solid plan that allows them to return next year on the Gold Coast, making the team and having some good swims there," he said.

"Every athlete has their own story and particularly post Olympics there are particular reasons to pull off a team.

"For me they were good reasons."

Australian team for World Swimming Championships in Budapest in July: Holly Barratt, Joshua Beaver, Jack Brazier, Bronte Campbell, Jack Cartwright, Daniel Cave, Kyle Chalmers, Brittany Elmslie, Alexander Graham, Chelsea Gubecka, Jessica Hansen, Mack Horton, Zac Incerti, Grant Irvine, Shayna Jack, Mitchell Larkin, Kareena Lee, Clyde Lewis, Cameron McEvoy, David McKeon, Emma McKeon, Kaylee McKeown, Taylor McKeown, Jack McLoughlin, Kiah Melverton, David Morgan, Leah Neale, Kotuku Ngawati, James Roberts, Emily Seebohm, Brianna Throssell, Ariarne Titmus, Louise Townsend, Madison Wilson, Matthew Wilson.

News Corp Australia

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