In one of the vital anticipated showdowns of the Tokyo Video games, Ariarne Titmus of Australia defeated Katie Ledecky of the US within the 400-meter freestyle, beating the reigning champion by two-thirds of a second.
Ledecky, the world-record holder within the occasion, got here in as one thing of an underdog. Titmus beat her on the world championships two years in the past when Ledecky was ailing. She’s been quicker than Ledecky on the distance this yr.
Titmus is the one swimmer to beat Ledecky in a distance race at a significant meet and had put a goal on Ledecky’s again, saying at Australia’s Olympic trials that the American champion would have issues “all her method” in Tokyo.
She backed up the speak within the pool Monday morning, overpowering Ledecky down the stretch in certainly one of Ledecky’s signature occasions. Ledecky had the lead till the ultimate 100 meters. Titmus, swimming within the lane beside Ledecky, got here off the wall with somewhat greater than the defending gold medalist and stretched out her lead over the ultimate 50 meters.
Ledecky has lengthy been thought-about almost untouchable at any distance of greater than 200 meters.
However swimming is the final word sport of one-upsmanship — one swimmer units a seemingly unmatchable commonplace, solely to see a brand new assortment of swimmers match it far prior to anybody anticipated.
That’s what has occurred with Titmus, a 20-year-old Tasmanian, who has come on like a drive of nature within the final three years, testing Ledecky’s fierceness as a competitor because it has not often been examined earlier than. On Monday, that fierceness was on full show as Ledecky put up a struggle, however Titmus had simply sufficient to outlast her within the last meters.
Ledecky can also be competing in freestyle races at 200, 800 and 1500.