Swimming-Titmus seizes 200m freestyle world record from O'Callaghan

  • Swimming
  • Wednesday, 12 Jun 2024

Fukuoka 2023 World Aquatics Championships - Swimming - Marine Messe Fukuoka Hall A, Fukuoka, Japan - July 29, 2023 Australia's Ariarne Titmus in action during the women's 800m freestyle final REUTERS/Issei Kato/ File Photo

MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Ariarne Titmus obliterated the 200 metres freestyle world record at the Australian Olympic trials on Wednesday, upsetting the previous holder Mollie O'Callaghan in an exhilarating final.

Olympic champion Titmus's one minute 52.23 seconds swim at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre shaved more than half a second off O'Callaghan's mark (1:52.85) from the World Championships in Fukuoka as she turned the tables on her rival.

O'Callaghan also smashed her Fukuoka best, clocking 1:52.48 in a swim that would have likely crushed any other rival.

But Titmus, who also holds the 400m world record and Olympic title, is no ordinary foe.

The 23-year-old Tasmanian, nicknamed "Terminator", heads to the Paris Games in great form.

"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 stunning swim came two nights after Titmus almost reset her 400m world mark on day one of the trials.

The 200m final was a rematch of the Fukuoka decider, when O'Callaghan edged her club-mate Titmus in a thriller for the title.

O'Callaghan made a fast start in Brisbane and held the lead after the first turn.

But Titmus quickly reeled her in and held off the 20-year-old on the back half of the race as fans in the terraces roared them home.

O'Callaghan, the first woman to sweep the 100 and 200m freestyle world titles at Fukuoka, will likely be shoulder-to-shoulder with Titmus in the Paris pool.

She said she had struggled with nerves after smashing her personal best in the 100m backstroke when she finished runner-up to Kaylee McKeown.

"I'm still learning. I'm still really getting used to this 200 metre freestyle," she said.

"It's very difficult to get your head around. But yeah, like this morning, last night, I couldn't really sleep. Especially after that 100 backstroke, I felt quite taxed.

"The past few days I've just been getting eaten up by nerves."

Both her and Titmus share the services of supercoach Dean Boxall at the St Peters Western Swim Club across town.

Boxall, famous for his fervent support of Titmus at the Tokyo Games, looked like a father unable to pick a favourite from two daughters as he cheered from the pool deck.

Titmus's parents beamed with pride in the stands.

"This is just one of the great moments in life," said her dad Steve Titmus.

Titmus's mum Robyn said what many of her compatriots will be thinking.

"You know what? Paris, bring it on. The Australians are coming."

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Ed Osmond)

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