Olympics: Ariarne Titmus Overtakes Siobhan Haughey to Lead 200 Free Semifinals; Ledecky Third

Jul 27, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Ariarne Titmus (AUS) in the women's 200m freestyle heats during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher -- USA Today Sports

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Olympics: Ariarne Titmus Overtakes Siobhan Haughey to Lead 200 Free Semifinals; Ledecky Third

Less than 24 hours after she swam the race of her career to overtake Katie Ledecky and claim Olympic gold in the women’s 400 freestyle, Australia’s Ariarne Titmus put up the fastest time in the semifinals of the women’s 200 freestyle. Titmus was out well behind Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey in the first semifinal heat, but she used a wicked finishing split — just like she showed in Monday’s 400 free — to overtake and pass Haughey.

Titmus swam a time of 1:54.82, well off her best time of 1:53.09 set last month. Titmus was just 0.11 off Federica Pellegrini’s 12-year-old world record in the event, and after swimming the second-quickest mark ever in the 400 free, Titmus could finally overtake Pellegrini’s record in the final.

Haughey earned the second seed in 1:55.16, while the USA’s Katie Ledecky won the second semifinal to qualify third in 1:55.34. Haughey became the first swimmer ever from Hong Kong to qualify for an Olympic swimming final, while Ledecky was bouncing back after a busy Monday where she swam the 400 free final in the morning and then prelims of the 200 free and 1500 free at night. Ledecky is off Tuesday night, but she will swim both the 200 and 1500 finals Wednesday morning. She will the top seed and heavily favored for gold in that 1500, which will take place less than an hour after the 200 final.

China’s Yang Junxuan qualified fourth in 1:55.98, followed by the Czech Republic’s Barbora Seemanova (1:56.14) and Canada’s Penny Oleksiak (1:56.39). Oleksiak was almost a second behind her prelims time of 1:55.38.

Meanwhile, Pellegrini got into the final for the fifth straight Olympic Games with her seventh-place time of 1:56.44. Pellegrini will be retiring this fall, so this will be her last shot at an Olympic medal after winning gold in the 200 free in 2008 and silver in 2004. Australia’s Madison Wilson claimed eighth in 1:56.58, just denying 14-year-old Canadian Summer McIntosh (1:56.82) and American Allison Schmitt (1:56.87), the 2012 Olympic gold medalist who still owns the Olympic record.

Finalists:

  1. Ariarne Titmus (Australia), 1:54.82
  2. Siobhan Haughey (Hong Kong), 1:55.16
  3. Katie Ledecky (USA), 1:55.34
  4. Yang Junxuan (China), 1:55.98
  5. Barbora Seemanova (Czech Republic), 1:56.14
  6. Penny Oleksiak (Canada), 1:56.39
  7. Federica Pellegrini (Italy), 1:56.44
  8. Madison Wilson (Australia), 1:56.82
  9. Allison Schmitt (USA), 1:56.87

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