Tit­mus ‘still hunt­ing’ star

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT -

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.

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