Australia look set to launch a “Mac Attack” on the Glasgow Commonwealth Games pool after a stunning national swim titles in Brisbane.
They may have names that look more likely to fly the flag for Scotland but they’re set to launch Australia’s “Mac Attack” on the Glasgow Commonwealth Games pool.
And the same young guns have Australian head coach Jacco Verhaeren excited for the 2016 Rio Olympics after shining at the week-long national swimming titles, which concluded in Brisbane on Sunday night.
Freestyle 100m-200m champ Cameron McEvoy, world class siblings David and Emma McKeon and new breaststroke queen Taylor McKeown had Dutch legend Verhaeren buzzing at his first major meet in charge.
But arguably the most promising “Mack” left his best until last at the nationals.
Junior world champion Mack Horton, 17, celebrated making his first national team by winning Australia’s once beloved 1500m freestyle in 14 minutes, 51.55 seconds on Sunday night – fourth fastest on Australia’s all-time list.
Horton also set junior world records in the 200m, 400m and 1500m finals in Brisbane.
His heroics capped a stunning nationals in which seven swimmers posted times that would have impacted on Australia’s 2013 world titles medal tally – McEvoy (100m, 200m freestyle), McKeown (200m breaststroke), Emma McKeon (200m freestyle), David McKeon (400m freestyle), Christian Sprenger (50m, 200m breaststroke), Bronte Campbell (100m freestyle) and Ben Treffers (50m backstroke).
But it was the age of athletes like Horton coming through that not only had Verhaeren looking forward to Glasgow but also Rio as part of plans to make Australia the No.1 swimming nation by 2020.
“I’m not going to say they’re all going to win (in 2016). I don’t want to put pressure on them,” Verhaeren said.
“But at this meet we’ve seen a lot of people qualifying around the age of 17, 18 and 19 and I’d say that’s a perfect age for Rio.”
Nineteen-year-old Emma McKeon and brother David, 21, were the feel good stories of the meet, following in the footsteps of their parents by qualifying to contest the 200m and 400m events at a Commonwealth Games.
It was a hard act to follow but whippet-like physics fanatic McEvoy did his best by claiming the 100-200m freestyle double including a stunning upset over world champion James Magnussen.
The Campbell sister act also threatened to steal the show.
Perennial bridesmaid Bronte Campbell appears to be closing the gap on world champion sibling Cate after clocking a 100m freestyle silver medal-winning time that would have claimed bronze at both the 2013 world titles and the London Olympics.
“I am sure it is only a matter of time before she beats me but I will try to prolong that for as long as I can,” Cate Campbell said.
Verhaeren could still see weaknesses “in a funny way” ahead of Glasgow.
He said breaststroke lacked depth despite boasting 100m world champion Christian Sprenger as did distance events even though Horton looked set to thrive off a 1500m rivalry with the recovering Jordan Harrison.
“Depth is not that strong in those areas but we have people who can make the difference,” Verhaeren said.