2022 AUSTRALIAN SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Ariarn Titmus was the first to beat Katie Ledecky in the 400 free at a major international meet, defeating her at the 2019 World Championships and the 2021 Olympic Games. Today, she became the first to break one of Ledecky’s world records.
Titmus swam a time of 3:56.40 at the 2022 Australian Swimming Championships, just 0.06 seconds faster than Ledecky’s mark of 3:56.46. Ledecky set her former world record five years ago at the 2016 Olympic games.
With her swim, the 21-year-old Australian now has three out of the four fastest-ever times in the women’s 400 free. She first scared the world record when she swam a time of 3:56.90 at Olympic trials last year, and then got even closer to it when she beat Ledecky with a time of 3:56.69 in Tokyo. Tonight, she finally accomplished the feat of being the quickest in history after being so close for so long.
Top 5 Performances In History, Women’s 400-Meter Freestyle:
- Ariarn Titmus – 3:56.40 (2022)
- Katie Ledecky – 3:56.46 (2016)
- Ariarn Titmus – 3:56.69 (2021)
- Ariarn Titmus – 3:56.90 (2021)
- Katie Ledecky – 3:57.37 (2021)
Titmus is well-known is known for her back half, having run down Ledecky during the last 100 meters the last two times she beat her. However, this time around, she was actually stronger on her first 200 meters of the race. She flipped in 1:56.99 at the 200 mark compared to Ledecky’s 1:57.11, but Ledecky actually had a stronger finish. Titmus went 1:59.41 on the last 200, while Ledecky closed in 1:59.35.
Titmus vs. Ledecky: Comparative Splits
|Ariarn Titmus2022 Australian Trials (New World Record)||Katie Ledecky2016 Olympic Games (Former World Record)|
|150m||29.70 (1:26.83)||29.94 (1:26.99)|
|200m||30.16 (1:56.99)||30.12 (1:57.11)|
|250m||30.11 (2:27.10)||30.30 (2:27.41)|
|300m||30.27 (2:57.37)||30.21 (2:57.62)|
|350m||29.75 (3:27.12)||29.92 (3:27.54)|
|400m||29.28 (3:56.40)||28.92 (3:56.46)|
With her world record, Titmus is now the Olympic Champion (2021), short course World Champion (2018), long course World Champion (2019), short course world record holder (2018), and long course world record holder (2022) in the women’s 400 free. With a clean sweep of all the major international braces in the event, she most likely cements herself as the greatest female 400 freestyler in history.
This race adds another chapter to what is arguably the greatest rivalry in our sport right now. Although Titmus broke Ledecky’s world record, she will not be racing against her at the FINA World Championships next month, instead opting to focus on the Commonwealth Games. If Ledecky wants to take her record back, she will likely have to swim the 400 free in a race by herself. In addition, the American has not been under 3:57 in five years, meaning she will have to go faster than she has in a long, long, time in order to beat Titmus’s new mark.
Ledecky and Titmus’s next potential showdown could be the USA vs. Australia duel in the pool, which is set to happen in late August after World Championships and the Commonwealth Games.
Titmus’s swim was the second world record set at this meet, as Zac Stubblety-Cook broke the men’s 200 breaststroke world record on Wednesday.