Commonwealth Games: Ariarne Titmus Holds Summer McIntosh at Bay in 400 Free for Fourth Gold Medal

Ariarne Titmus
Ariarne Titmus -- Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr

Commonwealth Games: Ariarne Titmus Holds Summer McIntosh at Bay in 400 Free for Fourth Gold Medal

In a highly-anticipated showdown between the world-record holder and the teenage sensation who has taken women’s swimming by storm this year, Ariarne Titmus reminded the world of her skills in the 400 freestyle, that one year after defeating Katie Ledecky for Olympic gold, she is still the one to beat.

In the 400 free final at the Commonwealth Games, Titmus led by more than a half-second after 100 meters, and there was nothing 15-year-old Canadian Summer McIntosh could do to reel her in. Titmus split 1:58.33 at the halfway point, more than a second off her pace from the world-record-breaking swim in May, but she accelerated on the fifth length and split under 30 seconds, essentially ending any chance of McIntosh closing the gap. In fact, McIntosh never got within a second of the Aussie star.

Titmus finished in 3:58.06, well off her world record of 3:56.40, but the time was the eighth-fastest swim in history, narrowly ahead of the mark of 3:58.15 that Ledecky swam at this year’s World Championships to take gold in Titmus’ absence. The gold medal was Titmus’ fourth of the Commonwealth Games after previous triumphs in the 200 free, 800 free relay (in world record time) and 800 free (in a personal-best time).

“I’m really happy. This meet was more about coming here and having fun and racing. I’m happy to get the job done. [McIntosh] pushed me the whole way. I knew she would be there,” Titmus said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. “The back half of this program has been really challenging with the 800m last night. I didn’t really have any expectations, I just wanted to do my best and mentally be there. I think I did that.”

McIntosh, meanwhile, touched in 3:59.32 to break her own Canadian record of 3:59.39 set in winning silver behind Ledecky in Budapest, where McIntosh became the fourth woman in history to break 4:00 after Titmus, Ledecky and Federica Pellegrini. The bronze medal went to Australia’s Kiah Melverton in 4:03.12 as she held off New Zealand’s Erika Fairweather (4:03.84).

“It was a great opportunity to race someone as fast as Ariarne,” McIntosh said, according to Swimming Canada. “It was an honour to race her and I had a great time. People like her and Katie Ledecky are great examples in and out of the pool.’”

After the conclusion of this race, Australia finished the Commonwealth Games having won 14 of the 15 medals in individual women’s freestyle races, with McIntosh’s silver the only non-Aussie medal in the stroke. In addition to Titmus’ three gold medals, Mollie O’Callaghan won gold in the 100 free and silver in the 200 free, and Emma McKeon was the gold medalist in the 50 free and bronze medalist in the 100 free. Shayna Jack was also a double individual medalist.

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