Young Aussie star Ariarne Titmus has sent another menacing statement to American legend Katie Ledecky and the swimming world, falling agonisingly short of breaking the oldest world record in women‘s swimming.
Titmus on Monday night produced the second-fastest women’s 200m freestyle time ever, clocking 1:53.09 to beat Emma McKeon in the event’s final at the Australian national Olympic swimming trials in Adelaide.
The Aussie’s time in the 200m – achieved in a textile suit – was just 0.11 seconds off Italian Federica Pellegrini’s world record from 2009. That record was set during the now-illegal super suit era.
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“It’s pretty crazy,” Titmus said. “Frederica Pellegrini did that at the World Championships in 2009 with the supersuits and it’s a record that’s very old.
“I think no one has been close to breaking it in a long time and I knew that if I was able to swim like I wanted to race I had a 1:53 in me but last night’s race gave me confidence.”
She is now the Commonwealth record holder in the event and in blistering form with less than 40 days to go until the Olympic Games take place in Tokyo.
Titmus’ time was also better than Ledecky’s best, which was the 1:53.73 she swam to claim gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Seven-time Olympic medallist grant Hackett declared in commentary it was “the greatest 200m freestyle swim we have ever seen from a woman”, considering Pellegrini’s record in 2009 came in a supersuit.
“That is unbelievable,” Hackett said.
It comes a day after Titmus swam the second-fastest 400m freestyle time in history, clocking 3:56.90. Only Ledecky (3:56.46 in Rio) has swam faster.
“Katie Ledecky‘s times have never been under assault like this,” NBC Sports Olympics reporter Nick Zaccardi wrote on Twitter.
SwimSwam writer Loretta Race wrote on Twitter: “Titmus is utterly incredible.”