Sport Titmus warms up for Ledecky showdown with Australian 400m title

06:15  17 april  2021
06:15  17 april  2021 Source:   afp.com

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World 400m freestyle champion Ariarne Titmus warmed up for the Olympics by claiming the Australian title Saturday in 4min 01.34sec as she eyes a Tokyo showdown with American great Katie Ledecky.

a person swimming in a pool of water: Ariarne Titmus won the Australian 400m freestyle title as she warms up for the Tokyo Olympics © Mark RALSTON Ariarne Titmus won the Australian 400m freestyle title as she warms up for the Tokyo Olympics

The 20-year-old, whose preparations were set back by a shoulder injury, turned at the halfway mark in an outdoor pool on the Gold Coast in 1:58.61 and powered home, although missed out on going under the magic four minute mark.

"Very happy with that ... especially knowing where I'm at in my work at the moment. I kind of forgot what a 400 felt like, but now I definitely remember," said Titmus, who won the 200m title on Thursday.

Felix says Tokyo will be Olympic swansong

  Felix says Tokyo will be Olympic swansong US track and field star Allyson Felix said Wednesday this summer's Tokyo Games will be her final Olympics but she has not set a definite date for her retirement. The 35-year-old sprinter -- the only female track and field athlete to win six Olympic gold medals -- said that while she could continue racing after Tokyo, she will not be around for the 2024 Paris Olympics. "I do plan for this to be my final Olympics," Felix told reporters at the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee's virtual media summit."I don't know for how much longer than this year I will run. I'm just going to take it as it comes as far as that goes.

"I haven't seen the splits yet, but it was more about my attitude going into the race knowing I had to go for it. Hopefully, I'll look back at my splits and see that I did that."

Titmus stunned seemingly invincible Olympic champion and world record holder Ledecky at the 2019 world championships, with their upcoming rematch in Tokyo one of the most anticipated.

Ledecky has also been in fine early-year form, winning the 400m at the Mission Viejo Pro Swim Series last weekend in 3:59.25.

Young prospect Elijah Winnington took out the men's title in 3:45.69 -- under Australia's Olympic qualifying standard ahead of the official trials in June. Defending Olympic champion Mack Horton withdrew to focus on his training regime.

"I went faster a couple of months ago, so still some stuff to work on definitely," said Winnington.

Ledecky excited by Olympic double challenge

  Ledecky excited by Olympic double challenge Five-time Olympic gold medallist Katie Ledecky said Thursday she is excited by the challenge of chasing history in Tokyo when she attempts to win 200m and 1,500m freestyle titles on the same day. The 24-year-old US swimming great is gunning for five gold medals at the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, where she hopes to compete in the 200m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m freestyle and 4x200m free relay. That ambitious schedule will require Ledecky to double up for both the prelims and finals of the 200m and 1,500m, which are taking place in single sessions.Ledecky, the world record holder over the 400m, 800m and 1,500, is unfazed by the prospect of going for gold in both events.

Veteran Emily Seebohm was also well under the qualifying standard in winning the women's 200m backstroke in 2:07.46 after Commonwealth record holder Kaylee McKeown opted not to race the final.

McKeown instead focused on the 200m medley, where she has the fastest time this year, comfortably claiming the title in 2:09.78.

Olympic silver medallist Mitch Larkin also sat out the men's 200m backstroke final after posting a sizzling 1:54.38 in the heats as he shapes up as a serious Tokyo medal prospect.

Like McKeown, he focused on the 200m medley and stormed home in 1:56.74. He now holds two of the world's three fastest times over the past 12 months.

Meanwhile, Emma McKeon won the Australian 100m butterfly title in 56.44, the second fastest time over the past year as she looks to better the sixth she finished at the 2016 Rio Games.


US-bound Van Niekerk wins 200m title, misses Olympic mark .
World 400-metre record-holder and Olympic champion Wayde van Niekerk won the South African 200m title in Pretoria Saturday, but missed out on the Tokyo Games qualifying time. Van Niekerk has yet to indicate whether he will attempt to qualify for the 200 and 400m events at the Tokyo Olympics, or concentrate on the longer distance. It was his final race in South Africa before heading to the United States, where he will work with new coach Lance Brauman in Florida.

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