Elijah Winnington has bounced back from a disappointing 2020 Olympic campaign taking home the Gold medal in the Mens 400m Freestyle in Budapest. He was able to defeat rival Lukas Martens to become the new world champion.
The 19th FINA World Championships are just beginning, but the Aussie team is already winning. Australia has had an amazing opening night taking home two Gold and one Silver medal. One of those Gold medals belongs to Elijah Winnington who had a decisive win in the Men’s 400m Freestyle Final.
After being side-to-side for most of the race, Winnington could edge out German swimmer Lukas Martens by 1.63 seconds. Brazilian Guilherme Costa joined them both on the podium taking home the bronze medal. Winnington was able to execute his race strategy to perfection and knew it would come down to the last lap and a half.
“It’s really just a mental game now, it’s who is tougher in the mind, and with 75m to go, I don’t want to sound cocky or anything but I knew I was going to be World Champion, I knew I had it in me,” he said.
After a disappointing Olympics campaign, where he was the gold medal favourite, Winnington is back to his winning ways. After the Olympics, he struggled with the aftermath of losing and even contemplated retiring.
“This time last year I never thought this day would happen, I thought I would be hanging up the goggles,” Winnington said.
“To bounce back is really cool but this meet I’ve always treated as a stepping stone leaping forward, by no means will this be the best I ever produce and I know that.”
At his incredible time of 3:41.22 only Australian legend Ian Thorpe stands in his way from Winnington becoming the fastest Australian 400m freestyle swimmer of all time.
He hopes to continue at this level and surpass Thorpe in the near future.
“I have to pinch myself to think the only person better than me now in Australian history is the great Ian Thorpe, we do have a great history in this event.”
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