Australian swimming gold medalist Mack Horton has this amazing photo of meeting his hero as a kid

Grant Hackett with Mack Horton, aged 11. Source: Twitter

This is the photo that changed Australian swimming history.

Mackenzie Horton became Australia’s first gold medalist at the Rio Olympics on Sunday, taking out the men’s 400m freestyle with a personal best time of 3:41.55, beating the defending champ from China Sun Yang.

The 20-year-old Melbournian, who wears prescription goggles because he’s short-sighted, had to overcome a fear of the water when he first started swimming, aged 10.

But the turning point came a year later when he met Grant Hackett, aged 11. The Australian swimming team posted the photo of “Mack the knife” meeting Hackett after his Olympics win. It was taken at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

It was a seminal moment for Horton, who was inspired to take swimming seriously from that moment on. Two years later he was setting Australian records, aged 13, winning gold in the 1500m at the 2012 Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, and just a few months later at the 2012 World Cup, posting a sub-15 minutes time of 14:54.25.

His current personal best for the 1500m freestyle is 14:39.54 and Horton’s hoping for more gold when he competes in that event at the Olympics later this week.

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