Ariarne Titmus tips world record to win Olympic 400m freestyle in Tokyo

NEW WAVE: The 2019 world champion in the 400m freestyle Ariarne Titmus believes it will take a world record to win the event in Tokyo. Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Australia’s only individual world swimming champion, Ariarne Titmus, believes it will take a world record to win the 400m freestyle at this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The world’s greatest ever freestyler and five-time Olympic gold medallist Katie Ledecky (USA) holds the current world record at 3:56.46, set in Rio four years ago when she added the 400m freestyle to her long list of extraordinary achievements.

Ledecky has also swum 12 of the fastest 13 times ever recorded over the 400m – the eighth fastest belongs to Titmus (3:58.76) the time the Tasmanian-born Queenslander swam to beat Ledecky at last year’s World Championships in Gwangju.

The 19-year-old Titmus had no reservations in declaring her thoughts at a press conference in Noosa on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast today, where she is attending a Swimming Australia National Event Camp,  saying she feels the world record will need to be broken to win the 400m freestyle in Tokyo.

“That’s the expectation I have to have. Katie will want to be swimming faster than what she was four years ago so I believe the world record is what it’s going to take to win the 400m freestyle,” said Titmus.


RELAXED RECOVERY: World champion Ariarne Titmus shows the style that makes her a real 2020 medal hope in Tokyo. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

“Katie’s world record is still two seconds faster than my PB….100 percent I believe she will be in that form or better…for me to try and beat her at the Olympics I’m going to have to be definitely a lot better than what I was last year.

“And I’m working towards doing that and I’ve still got a few boxes to tick before I get there.”

Asked what it is like to be the hunted, Titmus replied: “I still feel internationally I’m still hunting Katie.; domestically I’m the hunted…something I am quite used to now…there is a big group of girls coming up, especially in the distance events..the 200m freestyle is is very stacked which is why this (4x200m) camp here is so great so we can all work together.

“But I still feel under pressure to make the team….that’s the number one job at the moment…I’m not really thinking about after that.”


STRETCHED TO THE LIMIT: “For me to try and beat her at the Olympics I’m going to have to be definitely a lot better than what I was last year,” says Titmus. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Reflecting on her world championship victory over Ledecky last year Titmus said: “Katie had her race plan going in to try and beat me and I could see that and if she had executed her last 100m the way she had planned 100 percent she would have beaten me.

“So if she just does that she 100 percent could quite possibly would have had the race in the bag. I feel like she didn’t really change her race tactics because of where I was.

“I think she already had that plan; she might have guessed what I was going to do, ‘which was go out hard’ I’m not going to change my race tactics…..dependent on what she’s going to do….(Coach) Dean (Boxall) and I have a very strict plan going into the race which we are going to stick to…”

The Olympic 200m freestyle – a race in five or six

“The 200m is going to be a much tougher race in terms that there is not just one or two girls who could win the race, there are possibly five or six who could hit the wall first,” said Titmus.

“Working on my 200m race is something that will help my 400 and my 800m so making sure I get that speed up is really important.

“I’m still trying to focus on all three races…I just cant put all my eyes into the one basket.”

Team Australia celebrates after winning in the women's 4x200m Freestyle Relay Final during the Swimming events at the Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships, Gwangju, South Korea, 25 July 2019.

GWANGJU GOLD: Australia’s Brianna Throssell (left), Ariarne Titmus and Madison Wilson congratulate Emma McKeon after she delivers 4x200m gold in world-record time in Gwangju – Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

Australia Prepares for 4x200m freestyle without Shayna Jack

Titmus also spoke highly of the Australian team’s chances to turn World Championship gold into Olympic gold in the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay.

“This relay team is a massive chance to win gold at the Olympics so to get all the girls together to train together is something that we never get the chance to do and I think that is part of the reason we had such great success in all the relays at the world championships,” Titmus said.

She also spoke of her team mate and room mate, Shayna Jack, who is waiting to clear her name after last year’s positive drug test



GOLD COAST GOLD: Shayna Jack with Bronte Campbell, Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell – gold medallists in the 4x100m freestyle relay at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr/Swimming Australia Ltd.

Jack maintains her innocence to a positive test to non-steroid anabolic agent Ligandrol. She was expected to be charged by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) in December as the investigations into her case are ongoing, but is still waiting.

“It’s a very sad situation,” said Titmus, “Shayna was a massive part of this relay team and the devastation that happened last year is something I’m sure is still quite heavy with her.

“But I think she’s coping, she’s doing well, trying to get used to going through this process; going to court and getting used to not swimming at the moment.

“I’m pretty sure she’s fine, I’ve spoken to her; she’s ok…hopefully she can come out of this at the other end.”


  1. Kate Hauck

    Can’t wait for this race !

  2. Darl Bonnema

    Senior member of the International Olympic Committee, Dick Pound, announced that Olympics could be canceled because of the corona virus. He said we should know by May. Dick Pound is a former Canadian Olympic swimmer.

    • Nick Cittadinni

      Darl Bonnema I’ve been thinking the same. I saw move it to Atlanta, Indy or Omaha!!