WATCH: Ariarne Titmus Breaks World Record, Mollie O’Callaghan Swims #2 200 Free All-Time


After Federica Pellegrini‘s super-suited world record in the women’s 200 free was on the books for 14 years, the Italian’s longstanding mark of 1:52.98 has now been eclipsed three times in the last 11 months.

Australian sensation Mollie O’Callaghan busted through the barrier last summer, winning the World Championship title in 1:52.85, and then on Wednesday, the world record was absolutely demolished by two swimmers at the Australian Olympic Trials in Brisbane.

Ariarne Titmus, the defending Olympic champion, outdueled O’Callaghan in an epic final, knocking more than six-tenths off the world record in a mind-boggling 1:52.23.

Despite chopping 37 one-hundredths off her world record, O’Callaghan lost the distinction of being the fastest swimmer in history, touching 2nd to Titmus in a time of 1:52.48, becoming the first swimmer to have two 1:52 swims under her belt.

Between the two of them, they now own eight of the 10 fastest swims ever, with Titmus holding five of the top eight.

All-Time Performances – Women’s 200 Freestyle (LCM)

  1. Ariarne Titmus (AUS), 1:52.23 – 2024
  2. Mollie O’Callaghan (AUS), 1:52.48 – 2024
  3. Mollie O’Callaghan (AUS), 1:52.85 – 2023
  4. Federica Pellegrini (ITA), 1:52.98 – 2009
  5. Ariarne Titmus (AUS), 1:53.01 – 2023
  6. Ariarne Titmus (AUS), 1:53.09 – 2021
  7. Ariarne Titmus (AUS), 1:53.31 – 2022
  8. Ariarne Titmus (AUS), 1:53.50 – 2021
  9. Mollie O’Callaghan (AUS), 1:53.57 – 2024
  10. Allison Schmitt (USA), 1:53.61 – 2012

Below, watch the two go head-to-head, courtesy of Olympic swimming on YouTube.

Lani PallisterBrianna ThrossellShayna Jack and Jamie Perkins occupied the next four spots in the final, likely landing them on the Olympic team for the women’s 800 free relay that will be a massive favorite for gold in Paris.

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1 month ago

That aussie 4 x 200 is going to humiliate everyone

Reply to  Lpman
1 month ago

Maybe they can back load it to give the other countries some hope.

David S
Reply to  Lpman
1 month ago

China will be close

1 month ago

It’s impressive how it looked like Mollie was swimming a 400 for the first 150, judging her pace compared to Titmus. Mollie’s right when she says she is still learning to swim the event. Could go 1:51 if she carries her peak to Paris

Reply to  Luis
1 month ago

the 200 free is still a relatively new event for her its not an event she was consistently at the top of her age group in like she was in the 50/100 back, like 5 years ago at 2019 age nationals she missed her age final by getting 12th in a 2:07.7 (Forrester won the final in a 2:00) and its not like she was just having an off meet, she qualified to swim the 50/100 back and 100 free at junior worlds there (and she would go on to get 4th in all 3 there). I don’t think she really started taking the 200 free seriously until Tokyo and until last year most of her improvements had come from… Read more »

Awsi Dooger
1 month ago

This has been a stalled event for too long. Ridiculously so. It’s terrific that two women are pushing matters and forcing the rest of the world to adapt or face extended irrelevancy.

A commenter here today edited their comment about the women finally learning how to swim the 200. I have no idea why it was edited. The comment was perfect. It’s the same trend as women’s 800 in track and field, which is the parallel event given 2 minutes duration. That event is evolving unlike any other, with twice as many women breaking 2 minutes worldwide compared to Rio era. The reason is basic: the first lap is now markedly faster, instead of dawdling like it’s an endurance event.… Read more »

Outside Smoke
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
1 month ago

Swimmers are – rightfully – scared of the pain that comes in the back half. But safe swims don’t win Olympic medals.

1 month ago

incredible career of titmus and o’callaghan. I always knew that Ariarne could have that WR but I was still surprised by his brand!!
It’s hard for me to know which of the two will win in Paris.

Last edited 1 month ago by Swimmerfan
Reply to  Swimmerfan
1 month ago

I think it’s hard to bet against Arnie, she’s a great racer.

Genevieve Nnaji
Reply to  Meow
1 month ago

So is Mollie

1 month ago

Titmus uses an interesting breathing pattern here and in the 400: alternating every 2/every 4 by stroke cycle.

David Dornaus
Reply to  M L
1 month ago

Good pick up! First thing I noticed. Been saying for years exhaling is an under focused skill in the pool and this is finally an example of a world class athlete taking a different/better approach. “Everyone can swim, until they need to breath” (said some famous coach once)

Badger Swammer
Reply to  M L
1 month ago

This was the first thing I noticed too! Impressive to see her hold that all the way through. It’s a testament to her aerobic capacity and efficiency.

Outside Smoke
1 month ago

This is some Phelps-Lochte 200 IM level of shenanigans the way these ladies are pushing each other to new heights.

Awsi Dooger
1 month ago

O’Callaghan’s underwaters are much better. That’s what stands out to me. Those are Virginia caliber turns. Notice how much later she stays underwater than Titmus every time. Unfortunately the camera always cuts away to the underwater view just before O’Callaghan surfaces. Otherwise the contrast would be more evident.

It lends to greater margin for error for O’Callaghan. Titmus has to gauge the splits perfectly while O’Callaghan has more ability to vary. Granted, Titmus has always had the tendency to surface earlier than her competitors and get a jump on the first few strokes. It was first evident in the short course rally at 200 against Comerford.

The Paris betting line on this event now will be very interesting. Titmus wlll… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Awsi Dooger
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
1 month ago

Fav based on having a faster time as well as more recent

Octavio Gupta
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
1 month ago

Titmus +115
MOC +120
McIntosh +600
Haughey +800

Reply to  Awsi Dooger
1 month ago

I’ve replayed this incredible race three times so far. Not sure the Americans (or Summer McIntosh) have an answer for this! It’s a shame we rarely are given a single continuous full field camera angle showing the entire race. This jump-shift filming of swimming is so frustrating that I simply can’t watch sometimes, and just go to Live Results and ‘read the splits’.

David S
1 month ago

Both times beat mark spitz time from Munich.

cynthia curran
Reply to  David S
1 month ago

That’s cool.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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