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Olympic champion Mack Horton retires from swimming just months before Paris 2024

Olympic champion Mack Horton has announced his retirement from swimming just six months out from Paris 2024.

The 27-year-old’s future had been up in the air since he missed the cut for the Australian squad at last year’s world championships.

But only now, with the Olympic trials coming up in June, has he called time on his career.

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“I dearly wanted to swim in Paris but the hunger wasn’t there,” Horton said in a Swimming Australia statement.

“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.

“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.”

Australia’s Mack Horton (l) isn’t focussing on whether he’ll face Sun Yang in the pool in Tokyo. Credit: AP

Horton’s personal announcement included a montage of major moments in his career, from upstaging Sun Yang to win 400m freestyle gold at Rio 2016 to famously standing off the podium and refusing to shake his rival’s hand in an anti-doping protest at the 2019 world championships.

“I don’t have any regrets … only that the years went so quickly,” Horton said.

“Swimming has been my life … and it’s the friends and relationships I’ve made that trump any gold medal.”

Beyond Horton’s breakout Olympic success when he was just 20 years old, the Victorian won 4×200 freestyle relay bronze at Tokyo 2020.

He took out four individual medals (two silver, two bronze) at world championships as well as relay gold — where he swam the team’s fastest leg in the win over the US and Russia — and silver.

His Commonwealth Games record is also extensive: three relay golds to go with one solo gold, two silver and two bronze.

Mack Horton went to two Olympics, winning medals at both. Credit: Getty

“Grateful for all I’ve experienced, and even more so for those who’ve stood alongside me and made it possible,” Horton wrote in his personal announcement.

“I wouldn’t change a moment. Thank you swimming. Thank you Australia.”

Horton’s retirement follows a big end to 2023 where he married partner Ella Walter and finalised plans to move back to Melbourne.

He has already accepted a 9-5 job making use of his business degree while he remains president of the Australian Swimmers Association.

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