Titmus’ 3:56.90 Nearly Takes Down Ledecky’s 400 Free World Record


Australia’s Ariarne Titmus produced another big statement swim, nearly knocking off American Olympic icon Katie Ledecky‘s World Record in the women’s 400m freestyle.

While racing on day 2 of the Australian Olympic Trials, 20-year-old Titmus scorched the field with a monster mark of 3:56.90, a time that sits just .44 outside of Ledecky’s 3:56.46 WR produced at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Titmus is a fierce competitor, trained by St. Peters Western’s dynamic coach Dean Boxall. Aside from domestic glory, Titmus’ major claim to fame was the fact she beat Ledecky in this 400m free at the 2019 FINA World Championships, becoming the first woman to get to the wall ahead of Ledecky in a distance event at a major international competition.

Entering this meet, Titmus’ lifetime best rested at 3:58.76, which is what it took to beat Ledecky in Gwangju. That performance ranked as the 8th fastest swim of all time, as well as the Australian and Oceanic Record. With her result here, however, Titmus’s 3:56.90 now ranks as the 2nd fastest performance ever with Tokyo just weeks away.

As a reminder, Titmus has been dealing with shoulder issues as of late, as we previewed heading into this meet. Titmus raced at the  Aussie National Championships this past April winning the women’s 200m free in 1:55.43, the 400m free in 4:01.34 and the 800m free in 8:23.13 in addition to placing 7th in the 100m free in 54.36. She was also set to compete at the Sydney Open last month but withdrew from her events.

Ledecky most recently raced at the Pro Swim Series in Mission Viejo, clocking a time of 3:59.25.

Post-race here, Titmus was all smiles and clearly emotional at the realization that she has become an Olympian. She has the 200m free and 800m free yet to swim at these Trials as well.

400m Freestyle Split Comparisons:

  • Ledecky’s 3:56.46
    • 57.05/1:00.06/1:00.51/58.84
  • Titmus’ 3:58.76
    • 57.12/1:00.60/1:00.73/1:00.31
  • Titmus’ 3:56.90
    • 57.31/1:00.18/1:0.28/59.13

Partial race video and top 3 finishers’ results below:


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Nic Ola
3 months ago

ledecky does not swim this time from 5 years…

3 months ago

Ledecky, Smith, King are all done for. Maybe Simone will still get gold.

Reply to  Notanyswimmer
3 months ago

I get that this is probably a troll but who’s going to beat King?

Reply to  Justanotherfreestyler
3 months ago

Nobody will beat King any time soon …..

Reply to  Notanyswimmer
3 months ago

King losing to Pilato who couldn’t even go 1:05 mid. What a prediction!
Ledecky still has 800m/1500m events. So she is not done

Reply to  Notanyswimmer
3 months ago

I dont think so, King made a statement the other day saying she thinks the american women will win all the golds in tokyo

Reply to  Swimfan
3 months ago

The only surprising loss (to me at least) would be King in the 100 breast, the other 100’s could be won by americans but that would be a miraculous turnout for them. We don’t know what Regan is gonna do yet and I’d never count out simone, but there’s a lot of competition for the gold in those events. The 100 fly is the biggest question mark at the moment. for the american women

Reply to  Dudeman
3 months ago

Huske and Curzan both have a good chance in the 100 fly ( both are really good 100 free as well) we only have 90 minutes left to see what they have in store for us in the prelims Im hoping for mid 56s from them

Stephen Jon Loibl
Reply to  Swimfan
3 months ago

Canadian girl is the one to beat in the 100m fly

Reply to  Stephen Jon Loibl
3 months ago

You mean World Champion Maggie MacNeil?
People out here name dropping high school kids who have never made senior teams but can’t remember names of World Champions lol

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Stephen Jon Loibl
3 months ago

There is also a certain Chinese swimmer at 55.62 I believe this year, not to be forgotten.

3 months ago

Wow!!! Statement made.

Reply to  Mustangswimdad
3 months ago

Beautiful. Love watching the races on Amazon Prime, great commentary and post-race interviews in a nice facility. Very excited to see the depth of the Aussie team, can’t wait for the O’s !!

3 months ago

Shoulder seems OK 🙂

3 months ago

Game on

3 months ago

Ready to take on a Legend!!!!

3 months ago

According to her coach, she had 3 days of taper for this.

Reply to  TBIRD
3 months ago

Everyone likes to brag about swimming fast with very little rest but very few drop much time when they’re said to be fully rested.

1. A speed suit makes it a lot easier to swim fast with less rest.
2. Females typically don’t need as much rest to swim fast especially distance swimmers.

I can’t wait to see what Ledecky does this week and for the showdown in about 5-6 weeks. These two are becoming Lochte and Phelps in that they’re both so far ahead of everyone else in 1 event.

Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
3 months ago

Lochte and Phelps? Yes, but at Olympics always Phelps has won the 200 IM and never was a close race. In other occasions, I know well, Lochte had the edge and some races were fantastic, like at Panpacs 2006 (where won Phelps)

Reply to  TBIRD
3 months ago

This is an incredible swim. Any statement from a coach or swimmer about how rested a swimmer is at this point in the game should be taken with a grain of salt…mind games are in full effect.

Reply to  TBIRD
3 months ago

^insert lazy schooling practice time joke^

3 months ago

Can someone explain this joke? Seen it a few times before

Philip Johnson
3 months ago

Heck yeah!!!

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Retta Race

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