Swimming-Olympic champion Titmus has surgery to remove benign tumours

Fukuoka 2023 World Aquatics Championships - Swimming - Marine Messe Fukuoka Hall A, Fukuoka, Japan - July 25, 2023 Australia's Ariarne Titmus reacts after the women's 200m freestyle semi final 2 REUTERS/Issei Kato/file photo

(Reuters) - Australia's world and Olympic swimming champion Ariarne Titmus said on Friday she was recovering from surgery to remove benign tumours from an ovary.

The 200 and 400m freestyle Olympic gold medallist and 400m freestyle world record holder told followers on Instagram she would be taking some weeks to rest after the operation.

"For a while I’ve been managing an ongoing hip injury, and three weeks ago I had an MRI to suss out exactly what was going on," she said. "Sure enough, there was a little something with the hip that is completely manageable.

"However it was something else that the doctors picked up on that made everything else seem irrelevant. A large growth was found on my right ovary."

Titmus said she would "give up anything in the world to be a mother, it's my biggest dream" and it had been a scary time for her with each of the tumours measuring four centimetres.

"Of course in these moments you think of the worst-case scenario, and I was petrified of potentially losing the ovary or there being implications that could affect me and my desire to have children one day.

"However, I am one of the lucky ones.

"I feel blessed that I found these tumours before they got even bigger and started to have real implications on my health," she added.

Titmus, whose rivalry with American great Katie Ledecky lit up the Tokyo Games in 2021, set a world record in the women's 400 metres freestyle on her way to gold at the world championships in Fukuoka, Japan, last July.

She said in June she could bow out of her swimming career at next year's Paris Olympics if she lost the motivation to continue.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Christian Radnedge)

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