Swimming-Titmus fires Paris warning with 200m freestyle world record

  • Swimming
  • Wednesday, 12 Jun 2024

FILE PHOTO: Fukuoka 2023 World Aquatics Championships - Swimming - Marine Messe Fukuoka Hall A, Fukuoka, Japan - July 26, 2023 Australia's Ariarne Titmus in action during the women's 200m freestyle final REUTERS/Marko Djurica/File Photo

MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Ariarne Titmus wrested the women's 200 metres freestyle world record from club-mate Mollie O'Callaghan at Australia's Olympic trials on Wednesday as the Dean Boxall-coached pair fought a thrilling duel that could shape the Paris Games podium.

Two nights after threatening her own 400m freestyle world record, Olympic champion Titmus posted an incredible time of one minute 52.23 seconds in the final, slicing more than a half-second off O'Callaghan's mark (1:52.85) from last year's World Championships in Fukuoka.

Runner-up O'Callaghan also smashed her Fukuoka best at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre, clocking 1:52.48 in a swim that would have likely crushed any other competitor.

But Titmus is no ordinary foe.

Beaten by O'Callaghan for the world title in Fukuoka, the 23-year-old nicknamed "Terminator" turned the tables on her St Peters Western team mate in style.

"Looking at the results, that's unbelievable," Titmus said pool-side.

"I'm just happy to finally produce a swim in the 200 that I feel like my training reflects.

"The field that we have is why we're swimming so fast, we push each other every day."

The rivalry between Tasmanian Titmus, who also holds the 400m Olympic title, and her young challenger O'Callaghan has burned brightly in recent years and may be set to explode in Paris.

Their competition bodes well for Australia's chances in the 200m freestyle relay at Paris. The nation took bronze at Tokyo three years ago and won the world title last year.

Lani Pallister finished third in Wednesday's final ahead of Brianna Throssell, Shayna Jack and Jamie Perkins.

The top six swimmers have priority selection for the relay and to make the Australian team all but means an Olympic medal.

Another eyeing a Paris podium is Cameron McEvoy, the evergreen 30-year-old set to become the first Australian man to swim at four Olympics after booking his Paris ticket with victory in the 50 metres freestyle.

McEvoy became the oldest Australian to win a world title last year with his 50m triumph in Fukuoka and will now bid to become the nation's first man to claim Olympic gold in the event.

"That would be a cool stat to break," said McEvoy who posted a decent time of 21.35 seconds.

"I've been to three (Games) before, I've got three bronzes, all in relays. I'd like to get an individual medal.

"Having that type of longevity ... it shines a lot on the persistence and perseverance that I have had."

Runner-up behind McEvoy, Ben Armbruster booked his first Games, sneaking under Australia's Olympic qualifying standard with a time of 21.84 seconds.

Elijah Winnington, who qualified first for the 400m freestyle on Monday, also secured a place in the 800m at Paris with a time of 7:44.90.

As with the 400, Winnington beat his main rival Sam Short in another gruelling head-to-head and said his best was yet to come.

"I didn't want to peak here, I want to peak in six weeks' time."

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Ed Osmond)

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