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Gregson has high praise for McSweyn

·2-min read

Ryan Gregson is better placed than just about anyone to pass judgement on fellow middle-distance star Stewart McSweyn.

The Melbourne Track Club teammates train together daily and race each other regularly.

So when Gregson says the lanky Tasmanian could surpass the great Craig Mottram by the time his career is over, it's time to sit up and take notice.

McSweyn, 25, succeeded Gregson as the Australian 1500m record holder last year and is set to prioritise that event at the Tokyo Olympics, as the program doesn't allow him to also contest the 5000m.

Such is McSweyn's range that he has also bettered the Games qualifying standard for the 10,000m.

"I don't compare him to anyone else," Gregson said of hot favourite McSweyn after the pair both advanced to Sunday's 1500m final at the Olympic trials in Sydney.

"Genetically people would look at him and say that's not how you're supposed to look.

"You think he might be a bit stiff, a bit skinny.

"Because he is so stiff his body is like a carbon fibre plate, he puts a bit of pressure into his achilles and it just springs back.

"He has just got an amazing body, he has been able to string together five years uninterrupted and he's incredibly talented and a good bloke to boot

"We obviously had Craig Mottram 15 years ago doing crazy things, but I won't be surprised if Stewie surpasses his achievements."

Mottram still holds the national record in the 5000m, the event where he won bronze at the 2005 world championships and silver at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

The men's 1500m is now the most competitive discipline in Australian athletics.

McSweyn, Matthew Ramsden and Oliver Hoare have all bettered the Olympic qualifying standard, youngster Jye Edwards is vastly improved and 2016 Rio Games finalist Gregson can never be discounted.

But only thee of them can contest the metric mile in Tokyo.

"I'm obviously proud that I am part of this resurgence in middle-distance running and I'm glad I can still be a part of it," said the 30-year-old Gregson.

"I still think I've got a bit of fight left... there will be someone who will miss out and it could be me but I'll be doing my best to give myself an opportunity.

"In Australia right now our milers are no worse than the Brits or Americans, outside of the African nations maybe Australia might be the strongest

"We had one guy make the Olympic final four years ago but now it could honestly be three guys.

"It sounds crazy but anything could happen."

Hoare is among a group of US-based athletes given dispensation to skip the trials due to COVID travel restrictions.