March 20, 2024

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Australian Swimming Champion Ariarne Titmus Ponders Future After Paris 2024

3 min read
Australian Swimming Champion Ariarne Titmus Ponders Future After Paris 2024

Ariarne Titmus, an Australian swimmer who is attempting to maximize her time at the top, acknowledges she is unsure of what lies ahead after the Paris Olympics.

The 400-meter freestyle final was won by the Olympic champion on Tuesday night in 3:58.47 at the Australian trials at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre in preparation for the competition in Japan the following month.

There, she is prepared to embrace the “underdog” tag against 16-year-old sensation American great Katie Ledecky and Summer McIntosh, who in March broke Titmus’s record by running a 3:56.08.

Titmus, 22, didn’t swim as quickly as she had hoped in Melbourne, but she didn’t fully taper and she admitted she and her coach Dean Boxall had wondered if she might be into her final few 400m events at her peak.

“When you’re going into a meet like this you always want to take an opportunity to swim as fast as you can,” she said.

“I had the conversation with Dean. I have no idea what I’ll do after Paris; I intend to keep going, but you never know; this could be my fourth and final 400-meter race, after Paris, the trials, the worlds, and this.

“It might be my fourth-last 400 rested if I decide to stop. Therefore, you must take advantage of these opportunities to swim as quickly as you can. I wanted to swim a little bit faster tonight, but I’ll review the splits to see how it went.”

Titmus somewhat then backtracked on her comments, saying: “I kind of regret now saying that because now you will think I’m going to quit but I’m not” and stressed she couldn’t think beyond the current Olympic cycle.

“I’m still quite young,” she said. “But if you consider everything, as we did in the run-up to Paris, this may be one of my last chances to swim really quickly. Olympics, worlds, trials, and this competition.

“[Most definitely not a love or a body issue. I believe it would serve as motivation if I went to Paris and won again.

“When you have essentially accomplished everything you have set out to accomplish, it becomes more difficult to continue training at the same level.”

Tuesday night, Lani Pallister placed second in 4:02.43 and qualified for the Australian team.

The highly anticipated men’s 400m freestyle turned out to be a nail-biter. Young gun Sam Short, who touched the wall first in 3:43.38, narrowly edged out reigning world champion Elijah Winnington, who did so in 3:43.48, in what could have been a preview of the Fukuoka final. Mack Horton, a veteran and local contender, finished third (3:46.71).

Kaylee McKeown won the 200-meter individual medley earlier to guarantee her place in the world championships, but she was unable to surpass Stephanie Rice’s long-standing Australian record of 2:07.03.

Jenna Forrester, who came in second (2:09.29), qualified as well. McKeown, who didn’t taper, recorded a time of 2:07.60. In addition to securing her spot on the team, Brianna Throssell finished second in the 100m butterfly in 57.66 and ahead of Emma McKeon in 56.74. 100m breaststroke winner Zac Stubblety-Cook finished in 59.68 seconds.

After setting a new Fina record of 59.75 seconds, the 200m breaststroke specialist will compete for Japan, but Sam Williamson, who finished in second place, was unable to catch up (59.82).


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