Australian superstar Ariarne Titmus has ended US rival Katie Ledecky’s six-year stranglehold on the 400m freestyle world record, breaking it at the Aussie swimming championships.
Ledeceky has held the world record of 3:56.46 since the Rio Olympics in 2016, dominating the event until the arrival of Titmus in recent years.
The Aussie claimed the gold medal in Tokyo last year with a time of 3:56.69, but in the final night of the championships in Adelaide, was able to go even faster.
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With her famously over-celebrating coach Dean Boxall cheering madly from the side of the pool, Titmus came home in a time of 3:56.40 to pinch the record.
“Ledecky, hello!” Grant Hackett exclaimed on Amazon Prime Video.
“I’m glad it wasn’t a 402-metre race.”
Titmus explained the freedom of not building up for an Olympics helped her achieve the feat.
“Oh my God, I mean… I think the biggest thing since the Olympics was that Dean (Boxall) said to me, you know, I have this freedom, the pressure’s off your back,” she said.
“I’ve just loved swimming in the past six months and I think going into training with no pressure, just enjoying the sport, it’s underrated how important that is.
“Coming here with no pressure other than the pressure I put on myself – which is still pretty high – it’s fun to come here and swim like that.”
Titmus becomes the first Australian to hold the 400m freestyle world record since Tracey Wickham, who held it from 1978-87.
She joins Zac Stubblety-Cook in breaking a world record at these Australian championships, after he set a new fastest mark in the 200m breaststroke on Thursday night.
Kaylee McKeown (100m backstroke) and the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team are the other Australian world record holders.