Ariarne Titmus Planning A 400 Free Game Changer As She Plots Her Path To Paris And A Slice of Olympic History

READY FOR TAKE OFF: Ariarne Titmus has arrived into the Australian Dolphins Camp on the Gold Coast red hot and ready to go. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Ariarne Titmus Planning A 400 Free Game Changer As She Plots Her Path To Paris And A Slice of Olympic History

The world’s fastest 400m freestyler, Australia’s Ariarne Titmus has revealed she will have to change her game plan if she is to become only the second woman in history to successfully defend the Olympic 400m freestyle gold medal at next year’s Games in Paris.

The 22-year-old from Brisbane is among a 90-strong group of Australian Dolphins who have converged onto Queensland’s Gold Coast this week for Swimming Australia’s annual National team camp – based out of four centres at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, Bond University, Griffith University and the Miami Aquatic Centre.

And the dual Olympic champion over 200 and 400m freestyle, the 2019 world champion and current world record holder over 400m will be ready for the fight of her life when the “City Of Light” opens its doors to the youth of the world for the Games of the XXXIIIrd Olympiad.

The women’s 400m freestyle between Titmus, American super swimmer Katie Ledecky who is regarded as the world’s greatest freestyler and Canadian young gun Summer McIntosh will be the race of the Games – with a mouth-watering preview coming up at this year’s World Championships in Fukuoka.


PATHWAY TO PARIS THE PRIORITY: “Everything I do now is to make sure I perform in Paris,” says Ariarne Titmus in a fun mood on the Gold Coast today. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

If Titmus can successfully defend the 400m crown she will become only the second swimmer ever in Olympic history behind American International Swimming Hall of Famer Martha Norelius who won back-to-back 400s in Paris and Amsterdam in 1924 and 1928, to achieve the feat.

Titmus knows what has worked for her in the past will probably not work in 2024 – 100 years after Norelius had won the second ever Olympic 400m freestyle in a then Olympic record time of 6:02.02.

A race that today sees Titmus, 2016 Olympic and four-time world champion Ledecky and McIntosh who finished with silver behind Ledecky and Titmus twice last year, as the only swimmers racing in 2023, who have clocked times under four minutes.

Titmus holding the world record at 3:56.40, Ledecky the Olympic record (set in Rio) at 3:56.46 and McIntosh with her 3:59.32 when second to Titmus at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Martha Norelius – the Katie Ledecky of the 1920s

“When I started to create my race plans for the Olympics years in advance it was learning to be a fearless racer,” Titmus told the assembled media throng attending an open training session at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, Southport today.

“I did that from a young age and my back end fell off because I was practicing to go our hard; but to put together a race where I still went out fast and was able to sustain myself, especially coming home in the last 50m gave me the confidence I could execute that plan at the last Olympics.

PATRON DINNER Ariarne Titmus 2

BEEN THERE DONE THAT: Ariarne Titmus now out of the social scenes and back into swimming’s fast lane. Photo Courtesy: Wade Brennan Photography.

“But I definitely think I’m going to have to change that race plan a little bit for the next Olympics, because you can’t always do the same thing.

“You have to find new areas and new ways to get faster and better.

“A lot of people adopt a race plan that works and I know that people are going to be taking it out fast as well. Katie set the tone for that and I think many younger swimmers and including Summer are doing that as well.”

“For me it’s about finding new ways (to swim the 400) and still come out on top……..”

Plans she is working on morning, noon and night as swimming again becomes her priority after dabbling in life away from the pool, that saw her flying all over the country attending a host of events and functions after her four-gold medal haul at last year’s Commonwealth Games.

“All the social engagements are going to be on the back burner; I know that if I keep doing that sort of thing then I know I’m not going to win in Paris,” said Titmus, who has her immediate sights set on the Australian Championships in April, the World Trials in June and the Fina World Championships in Fukuoka in July.

Jul 26, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Ariarne Titmus (AUS) hugs Katie Ledecky (USA) after the women's 400m freestyle final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

JEWELS OF THE POOL: Ariarne Titmus and Katie Ledecky will provide swimming fans around the world with the next great race of the century. Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher/USA Today Sports

“I got that all out of my system; had a great lot of fun (doing it) but swimming is definitely my number one priority now….

“I feel like I’ve done that in the first month of this year and I’ve come into this camp red hot and ready to go…

“I know that at the moment I’m not where I need to be to win a world championship…if I was now then that’s not the plan; I need it to be at Trials and then in July at World’s.

“Mentally I’m there, I’m ready to put the work in and I want to feel as fast as I can again so I know this week is going to be a great stepping stone.”

And on her immediate show down with Ledecky and McIntosh ?

“The World Championships leading up to the Olympics is the most important meet other than the Olympics in the Olympic cycle,” said Titmus.

“Psychologically it’s more important than anything to give you that confidence boost that you know you are on the right path and on the right track and that you’re tracking well to perform in 12 months time.

“For me I haven’t raced Katie since the Olympics so I’m excited to have a red hot crack in a field in the 400m freestyle that is a once in a life time that we’ve seen.

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen three women swimming under four minutes at the same time so I think it’s exciting for swimming fans and swimming around the world in general to be able to experience this competitiveness and I feel very fortunate and proud to be part of this history in women’s distance freestyle events.


SUMMER COMIN: Canadian rising star Summer McIntosh aiming high in Paris. Photo Courtesy: Swimming Canada/Ian MacNicol

“I’m just very excited to race. I didn’t do the World Championships (in Budapest) last year; I needed a bit of a reprieve mentally, deciding to focus on Commonwealth Games and that decision has definitely worked because now I’m very excited to get back and race another World Championships.”

But in the end it’s all about Paris.

“Everything I’m thinking about now is Paris; that’s the main goal; everything I do now is to make sure I perform in Paris, so performing well (in Fukuoka) should place me in good stead to perform in 2024,” said Titmus.

“And I started think about Paris (back) in 2021. This is not something that you think about in the year of, otherwise you are never going to win.

“So you set out a massive plan and time line – so everything I’m doing this year is in the hope that it will prepare me to be in the best possible position to win in 2024.”

Can’t wait…going to be a helluva ride…..!


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1 year ago

We already know Ariarne can vary her race plan, to think she’s looking at more ways to strengthen her race is very scary for the competition.

Can’t wait to see her go 3:55

1 year ago

Usual smattering of errors from your Oceanic correspondent. As for the 6:02 400m…..

Jacques Durand
Jacques Durand
1 year ago

What strikes me with Katie, Ariarne and Summer is how graceful they are when they lose. A lesson to all from those remarkable young women.

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