Since her appearance on the swimming scene in 2012, Katie Ledecky is almost unstoppable.
Most of her 20 combined gold medals at the Olympics and World Championships are from a female swimmer. At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, she swept over the three distance freestyle events. Her times in the 400-meter, 800-meter and 1500-meter freestyle are all world records.
But while American swimmers in the past have viewed Ledecky as a convenient source of gold medals, it won’t be that easy this year. Australian star Ariarne Titmus has become a real challenge to Ledecky’s throne at several distance events.
While Ledecky nearly completed the 1,500 in the first year of the race in the women’s Olympic competition, the 200 and 400 numbers become great battles between the Americans and the Australians.
Here’s everything you need to know about Titmus and the threat it poses to Ledecky in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
How old is Ariarne Titmus?
Ledecky won gold in the 800 freestyle at the 2012 Olympic Games in London at the age of 15 and has been the dominant swimmer in the world ever since.
At the age of 24, Ledecky will be the one who competes against young drivers. Titmus is 20 and is taking part in her first Olympic Games. (Canadian 14 year old Summer McIntosh is also in the finals). Her first world championship event took place at the FINA World Aquatics Championships 2017 in Budapest when she was part of Australia’s bronze-winning 4×200 freestyle relay. She only won international gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, where she won the 400 and 800 freestyle and 4×200 freestyle relays. She won silver in the 200 freestyle.
She has risen since then. Titmus put in a strong performance at the FINA World Aquatics Championships 2019, especially in one of their races against Ledecky.
Titmus vs. Ledecky head-to-head
As mentioned, Ledecky was almost unstoppable in distance freestyle . The word “almost” is important because she was actually baffled in one of her signature races on the world stage.
At the FINA World Aquatics Championships 2019, Ledecky found she was the favorite in the 400 freestyle by swimming a 4:01.84 run and leading the field . But the observant noticed that Titmus was only a fraction of a second behind her at 4: 02.42.
Then the final came and it happened: Titmus won gold. And this wasn’t just a win by grabbing the wall – Ledecky would have been ahead with 6-0 against Titmus 5:10. Instead, Titmus won by more than a second. She took gold with a time of 3: 58.76, while Ledecky took silver with a time of 3: 59.97.
Ledecky was sick during the meeting and that stopped them from doing the 200. to ride freestyle, but Titmus’ victory was convincing and put her firmly on the world map of swimming.
At the 2019 World Championships they met again in 800 freestyle. After Ledecky finished second in the heats behind his American team-mate Leah Smith, he won gold with a time of 8: 13.58 and Titmus took bronze with 8: 15.70. The Italian Simona Quadarella was second with 8: 14.99.
Previous encounters between the two were Ledecky’s path. At the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships 2018 Ledecky placed before Titmus in the 400 and 800 freestyle.
When will you compete in the Tokyo Games in 2021?
Unless unforeseen circumstances, Ledecky will leave Tokyo with gold medals. The question will be how often does Titmus finish before her.
Titmus and Ledecky will compete against each other in three individual competitions – the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle – and the 4×200 freestyle relay.
The 400 freestyle final is Sunday evening in the USA Titmus is almost three seconds faster with her start time of 3: 56.90 than Ledecky with 3: 59.25 as more likely Favorite to go into the race. Ledecky is still the world record holder in the race with 3: 56.46 o’clock and was faster than Titmus in the heats (4: 00.45 to 4: 01.66). But the two didn’t compete in the same heat and swimming next to each other in the final will make them go faster.
The 200 heats and the semifinals will take place on the Monday before the finals on Tuesday. This is the only endurance race that Ledecky isn’t currently the world record holder (Italian Federica Pellegrini holds that award at 1: 52.98), so this is another place where Titmus could step in and take the gold. Titmus starts with the best starting time of 1: 53.09, while Pellegrini is second with 1: 54.22 and Ledecky is third with 1: 54.40.
The 800 figures are Ledecky’s race. Ledecky has proven that the longer the race, the more dominant she is. Her entry time of 8: 10.70 is almost four seconds faster than the Chinese Wang Jianjiahe at 8: 14.64, and Titmus is fourth by 8: 15.57. Titmus will not contest the 1,500, where Ledecky is also supposed to displace the field with a start time of more than 21 seconds faster than the closest swimmer.
This leaves only the 4×200 relay free. Both swimmers are expected to take part. Australia holds the world record at 7: 41.50; it set the standard at the 2019 World Championships, where Titmus led the way. The United States was just behind at 7: 41.87, but they have a relatively new group and the Australian swimmers, who join Titmus and Emma McKeon, have the fastest times of any relay-only swimmer.
Here you can watch Ledecky and Titmus at a competition in the coming days.
Sunday, July 25th
Event Time (ET) Channel 400 women’s freestyle heats 7:39 am USA 400 women’s freestyle final 22:20 Uhr NBC
Monday, July 26th
Event Time (ET) Channel 200 women’s freestyle heats 6:02 am USA 200 women’s freestyle semi-finals 9.30 p.m. NBC
Tuesday, July 27th
Event Time (ET) K anal 200 women’s freestyle finals 21:41 NBC
Wednesday, July 28th
Event Time (ET) Channel Women’s 4×200 freestyle relay runs 7:34 am USA Women’s 4×200 freestyle relay finals 11:31 pm NBC
Thursday , July 29th
event time (ET) Channel 800 women’s freestyle heats 6:02 a.m. USA
Friday, July 30th
Event nis Time (ET) Channel 800 women’s freestyle final 9:46 p.m. NBC