Titmus ‘still hunting’ star
TASMANIAN swimmer Ariarne Titmus says she is still the underdog in her rivalry with US champion Katie Ledecky ahead of the 2020 Olympics. Titmus, pictured, won gold ahead of Ledecky in the 400m freestyle at the World Swimming Championships in July to become the first Australian woman to claim the title since Tracey Wickham in 1978. The young star clocked a Commonwealth record of 3:58.76 on her way to gold in Gwangju, South Korea, sparking a high-profile rivalry with American legend Ledecky in the process. Titmus won another three medals in South Korea, including a gold medal and world record in the 4x200m freestyle relay, silver in the 200m freestyle, and bronze in the 800m freestyle. The teenager then capped off a remarkable 2019 by winning three awards at the Swimming Australia Awards last week. But she says her achievements haven’t sunk in yet as she’s fully focused on her preparations for next summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. “I’ve definitely poked the bear (by beating Ledecky),” Titmus said. “Going into the Olympics I feel that, although I did beat Katie this year, I feel she’s definitely still the favourite. I’m still hunting. “If anything, me beating her will work in her favour. If she’s anything like me, it will just drive her to train harder. It’s obvious to me that I’ll have to raise my standards as well. It’s going to be a great battle. It will be close, but I definitely consider myself as the underdog.” Titmus says Australia will arrive in Tokyo as favourites for the 4x200m freestyle relay in both the men’s and women’s events, and hailed the depth in the women’s squad. “To be honest, I think we’re probably going in (as) favourites for both,” she said.