Ariarne Titmus broke Katie Ledecky‘s world record in the 400m freestyle at the Australian swimming trials on Sunday, becoming the first swimmer other than Ledecky to break a Ledecky world record.
Titmus, the 21-year-old who won the Olympic 200m and 400m frees over Ledecky, clocked 3:56.40 to take six hundredths off Ledecky’s world record from the 2016 Olympics.
“I never thought that at this meet post-Olympics I’d be swimming faster than at Olympic trials and the Olympic Games,” Titmus said on Amazon Prime. “So, I guess, you keep surprising yourself, and it keeps the sport interesting.”
Just like last year, fiery coach Dean Boxall cheered Titmus on with his trademark intensity (watch at bottom of post to the end).
“Yeah, I saw him,” Titmus said. “He’s been a bit subdued [earlier in the meet]. It’s nice he probably saved his energy for the big one.”
— FINA (@fina1908) May 22, 2022
Titmus has said she will not swim at the world championships next month, instead putting her focus on the Commonwealth Games in July. That means she will not face Ledecky at a championship meet until 2023 at the earliest.
“Biggest thing since the Olympics, Dean said to me I have this freedom, pressure’s off your back,” Titmus said. “Coming here with no pressure, other than the pressure that I put on myself, which is still pretty high, it’s fun to come here and swim like that.”
Titmus said that people can stop asking her when she’s going to break a world record, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I believe that Katie is the greatest female swimmer of all time,” Titmus said, according to the report. “I can’t put myself up next to her with what she has done in swimming, it has been insane. She has been at this level for 10 years. To even be in the conversation, I feel completely honored.”
Later Sunday, the Australian teams for worlds and Commonwealths were named.
Notably, 2016 Olympic 100m free champion Kyle Chalmers reversed his stance from a month ago and will swim at worlds in Budapest in June. That decision, announced after Chalmers finished second in the 100m butterfly and first in the 50m fly at trials, meant that singer Cody Simpson, who was third in the 100m fly, did not make the world team (max. two swimmers per individual event).
Simpson said on Friday that he and Chalmers chatted, “cleared the air” and that “it was all good.”
“He changed his mind, which he has every right to do,” Simpson said on Amazon Prime. “I respect his decision either way.”
Simpson did make the team for Commonwealths, where the maximum is three swimmers per individual event.
“Hopefully this is the first of a few [teams] that I can get on,” Simpson, a talented junior swimmer who returned from a decade break in 2020, said on Amazon Prime. His goal at the start of his comeback was to make the 2024 Olympic team.
Chalmers skipped the team naming ceremony, citing mental health in a social media post.
“The past few days have been really challenging for me mentally and emotionally and it’s taken a massive toll on me,” he posted. “I need to look after my mental health and get myself right as I prepare for a massive year in the pool. The negative media attention surrounding my decision to compete at worlds and the made up story lines surrounding my personal life have been more than I can handle. After giving my all to the sport and being so welcoming to the media all my career, it’s a shame to see them publish storyline’s questioning my integrity all for the sake of extra clicks and money.”
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