Titmus, 21, finished in 3:56.40sec during Sunday night’s final, shaving six milliseconds off Ledecky’s level of 3:56.46, set in 2016 Rio de Janeiro. the Olympics.
Titmus flirted with the world record in the 2021 Australian Olympic Trials (3:56.90) and in the Tokyo Olympics finals (3:56.69)—who dealt silver medalist Ledecky, her first defeat in an international meet in one of her core events. Titmos beat Ledecky for gold in the 200m race in Tokyo. Lydecky got some measure of revenge by outsmarting Titmus in the 800 and added a second gold in the 1500, which Titmus never swam. They were the sixth and seventh gold medalists of her career.
“It’s kind of nice because I won’t ask when I’m going to break the world record,” Titmus told reporters on Sunday. “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been out swimming. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been to swim. It definitely shows up in the pool.”
Ledecky, 25, still holds the world records for the longest free distance: 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. At the 400, she broke five-year-old Federica Pellegrini’s world record of 3:59.15 in 2014, then lowered it two more times, most recently at Rio 2016.
As she did in Tokyo, on Sunday Titmus spoke glowingly about Ledecky’s legacy and influence, telling reporters, “I can’t put myself next to her. What she did for female swimming was insane. She’s been at this level for 10 years. To be in conversation with her.” – I feel totally proud. I hope now this will continue the fight and give it some motivation.”
A rematch at the World Championships was scheduled for next month in Budapest, but Titmus announced earlier that it would bypass the Worlds and compete instead in the Commonwealth Games starting in late July. This means that Ledecky and Titmus are unlikely to meet again until the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan – one year before the 2024 Paris Olympics.
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