Ariarne Titmus Touts Aussie Women’s Freestyle Depth After World Record Swim


After Ariarne Titmus broke Katie Ledecky‘s world record in the women’s 400 freestyle, she was asked in a post-race interview by Gianne Rooney about her anticipation for the Commonwealth Games. She responded by crediting the depth of Australia in the women’s 200 free as a reason for her excitement.

“I’m very excited and I think we’ve got a great team going in,” Titmus said. “It’s insane to have the whole final in the 200 freestyle the other night faster than the second-place [finisher] in America. It’s insane the depth we have, so I’m excited to go out there in Birmingham and have a good race.”

Titmus’s comment about the Americans was referencing how the top eight women in the women’s 200 free final at Australian trials were faster than the second-place finisher in the same event at U.S. trials. Meg Harris, who finished eighth at Australian trials with a time of 1:56.82, was faster than Claire Weinstein‘s 1:57.08 time that took second at U.S. trials. You can compare the results here:

Top 8 Finishers, Women’s 200 free, Australian Trials Top 8 Finishers, Women’s 200 Free, U.S. Trials
1. Ariarne Titmus – 1:53.31 1. Katie Ledecky – 1:55.11
2. Mollie O’Callaghan – 1:54.94 2. Claire Weinstein – 1:57.08
3. Madi Wilson – 1:55.86 3. Leah Smith – 1:57.44
4. Kiah Melverton – 1:55.94 4. Hali Flickinger – 1:57.53
5. Leah Neale – 1:56.10 5. Bella Sims – 1:57.71
6. Lani Pallister – 1:56.28 6. Alex Walsh – 1:57.82
7. Brianna Throssell – 1:56.34 7. Erin Gemmell – 1:58.12
8. Meg Harris – 1:56.82 8. Katie Grimes – 1:58.22

While the comments seemed to be intended as more of a positive about her own countrymates than a slight to the Americans, the two nations have some history of  jabbing at each other in interviews that have oftentimes escalated. It’s worth pointing out that Titmus also gushingly spoke of Katie Ledecky, the swimmer whose World Record she broke in the 400 free, in interviews on Sunday.

“I can’t put myself up next to her. What she has done for female swimming has been insane. She has been at this level for 10 years. To be in the conversation with her — I feel completely honored. And I hope now this will keep the battle going and give her some drive.”

In addition, although Titmus’s comments hold true to an extent, the Aussies aren’t necessarily the guaranteed favorites in the 4×200 free relay this year. First off, they will be without their fastest two swimmers, Titmus and Emma McKeon, at Worlds. They still face challenges from teams such as Canada and world record holders China, who are just about as likely to take gold as Australia is. In addition, the top four finishers at Australian Olympic trials last year in the women’s 200 free were faster than the second-place finisher at U.S. trials, and yet the Americans still beat Australia at the Olympic games. This goes to show that anything could happen on the biggest stage, regardless of who is a favorite and who isn’t.

Also in her interview, Titmus discussed how rested she was for this week’s meet, and the tremendous pressure that had been taken off her after the Olympics. She mentioned that she took a long break after Tokyo, which she felt was worth it after her performance at trials.

“The biggest thing since the Olympics was that Dean [Boxall] said to me that I now have this freedom because the pressure is off [my] back. I’ve loved swimming the past six months, and I think going to training with no pressure and being able to enjoy the sport is underrated. Coming here with no pressure except the pressure I put on myself, it’s fun to swim like that.” Titmus said. “I came back [to training] very slow in the beginning. I never thought that this meet I’d be swimming faster than at Olympic trials and the Olympic games”.

In addition, the 21-year-old also discussed her mental health inside and outside of swimming.

“It’s kind of nice now that I’m not going to be asked when I am going to break the world record,” Titmus said. “I am the happiest I have ever been outside of swimming. I am the happiest I have ever been in my life in swimming. It’s definitely showing in the pool.”

At the Olympic games, Titmus took home titles in the women’s 200 free (1:53.50) and 400 free (3:56.69). She bested both of those times at trials this week, winning the 200 free (1:53.31) and 400 free (3:56.40), while also setting a personal best in the 100 free (53.68) to take fifth.

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5 months ago

coming back to this article just to laugh

6 months ago

Has Titmus decided not to do the 800 now (though she did in Tokyo)? Focus on 200&400.

Reply to  AndyD
6 months ago

No, she’s still swimming the 800 at Comm Games. She was pre-selected in all her events for Comm Games so didn’t even need to swim trials but swam the 200 and 400 anyway in order to have a crack at the world records.

6 months ago

Success begets success. Look at France, for example. Their women were nowhere to be found in the 400 free, then Laure Manaudou emerges, and the next few years sees them put three women into the top 10 of the world rankings, and have two different Olympic champions in the event. Look at what the Canadian women are doing in the 100/200 free after Penny broke out. Look at what Dutch women’s sprint frees did after Inge de Bruijn rose to the top. It’s cyclical. It is easier for smaller countries though because they tend to have champions in select disciplines so the focus is more narrowed whereas the US has champions in a number of events and strokes.

Australia’s… Read more »

6 months ago

She just called out USA women for being weak freestylers…..sad thing is she is not wrong.

That should be some good bulletin board material

6 months ago

She is right, though. Considering our university system so highly prizes freestylers, we don’t have a ton of long course depth in those events right now. USA just seems to keep getting more and more backstrokers.

The unoriginal Tim
6 months ago

Had to bite my tongue with a sarcastic reply about the Shelias carrying their blokes.

Anyway Australia are the best pound for pound swimming nation in the world but USA are the heavyweights who always show up. They have great depth but the nature of swimming is that only a few can earn a decent living so many US talents are college then done. It isn’t just the “bathtub effect” its opportunity to earn a living vs giving up college/good job offers to take a chance on trials where we have seen current Olympic and World Champions fail to qualify in recent years.

In Austrialia and small nations like Great Britain medalists and often finalists from a previous championships get… Read more »

Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
6 months ago

Our medalists from Australia from 2021 got a free ride to the Commonwealth games, not World champs. For the first and only time.

Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
6 months ago

Australia has literally never preselected someone for Worlds or Olympics based on previous performance. Ever. Like ever ever. So you might want to rethink that reasoning.

6 months ago

At least our 100free champ isn’t getting in a fight with a pop star or something??

Reply to  50free
6 months ago

Not free, and not even champ.

100 fly runner up.

Reply to  50free
6 months ago

He’s not. It’s a media beat up.

6 months ago

7:43.03 vs 7:44.87. 7:40.73 vs 7:41.29. That is all, that is the comment.

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming through scoring countless dual meets, being a timer, and keeping track of her teammates' best times for three years as a team manager. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in …

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