Ariarne Titmus breaks Katie Ledecky’s 400 freestyle world record

Ariarne Titmus breaks Katie Ledecky’s 400 freestyle world record

Placeholder while loading article actions

For eight years, Katie Ledecky was the world record holder for the three longest female freestyle distances, with those marks lowered 11 times during that streak – each time by Ledecky herself.

Since Sunday, this is no longer the case. Australian Ariarne Titmus, who became Ledecky’s main rival in the previous Olympic quadrennial and beat the American twice at the Tokyo Games, broke Ledecky’s record in the 400 meters at the Australian Swimming Championships in Adelaide.

Titmus, 21, finished in 3 minutes 56.40 seconds in Sunday night’s final, shaving six hundredths of a second off Ledecky’s standard of 3:56.46, set at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.

Titmus flirted with the world record at the 2021 Australian Olympic trials (3:56.90) and the Tokyo Olympics final (3:56.69) – the latter of which inflicted on silver medalist Ledecky , his first defeat in an international meeting at one of his flagship events. Titmus also beat Ledecky for gold in the 200 meters in Tokyo; Ledecky got his revenge by beating Titmus in the 800m and added a second gold in the 1500m, which Titmus did not swim. These were the sixth and seventh Olympic gold medals of his career.

“It’s pretty good now that people don’t ask me when I’m going to break the world record,” Titmus told reporters on Sunday. “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been outside of swimming. I’m the happiest in my swimming life. It definitely shows in the pool.

From July: How Katie Ledecky swims faster than the rest of the world

Ledecky, 25, still holds the world records for the longest freestyle distances: 8:04.79 in the 800 at Rio 2016 and 15:20.48 in the 1500 at the 2018 TYR Pro Swim Series meet in Indianapolis. In the 400m, she broke Federica Pellegrini’s five-year-old world record of 3:59.15 in 2014 and then lowered it twice more, most recently at Rio 2016.

As she did in Tokyo, Titmus spoke enthusiastically about Ledecky’s legacy and influence on Sunday, telling reporters, “I can’t get next to her. What she has done for women’s swimming is insane. She has been at this level for 10 years. To be in conversation with her – I feel completely honored. And I hope now that this will continue the battle and give it some dynamism.

A rematch was due to take place at the world championships next month in Budapest, but Titmus had earlier announced that she would skip the world championships and instead compete in the Commonwealth Games from late July. That means Ledecky and Titmus won’t likely see each other again until the 2023 world championships in Fukuoka, Japan, a year before the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.