Ariarne Titmus, Summer McIntosh And Katie Ledecky Ready To Rock World Record In 400m Freestyle Showdown
Three women under Summer McIntosh’s world record of 3:56.08 in the women’s 400m freestyle! That’s the bold prediction from former world record holder Ariarne Titmus for what is shaping as a spectacular opening night to the 2023 World Aquatic Championships in Fukuoka next week.
The build-up to “the race of the century” at next year’s Paris Olympics will get a perfect preview next Sunday, July 23, when the big three: McIntosh (CAN) Katie Ledecky (USA) and Ariarne Titmus (AUS) line up for the most anticipated and tantalising eight laps in the history of women’s swimming.
A final that on this year’s times will also feature Erika Fairweather (NZL), Lani Pallister (AUS), Li Binjjie(CHN), Bella Sims (USA) and Isobel Gose (GER).
Of the current day swimmers, only McIntosh, Titmus and Ledecky have been under four minutes – but you get the feeling it’s a barrier that could be joined by the rest of the field.
Titmus and the Australian Dolphins have been in their Staging Camp in Saga this past week preparing for the 20th Edition of the World Championships that began in Belgrade in 1973.
And the previous world record holder holds no illusions as to the expectations.
“There’s going to be three women who hopefully repost the world record,” said Titmus, who in 2019 became only the second Australian behind Tracey Wickham in 1978 in West Berlin to win the coveted 400m freestyle.
“And I feel just very blessed to be a part of that. Whether I am the hunter or hunted, I’m just going to go in there to give it a red-hot crack.
“I feel it’s quite even … I mean, I’d love to be a fan of swimming right now, watching the 400m freestyle is going to be unbelievable.
“I feel like I’ve done things in training I’ve never done before, which is a nice feeling to have. I feel like I’m going into Worlds with a lot of confidence.
“At the beginning of the year, I wasn’t too happy with where I was and I’ve really shifted my mindset, I just had a lot going on in my personal life which was overriding my focus on swimming.
“I’ve realigned my focus … and prioritised my swimming. I look back to 2019 Worlds and they were a great steppingstone for me, and a major breakthrough becoming World Champion.
“Racing at (Worlds) and a pressure meet is a great practice for next year. I feel like I haven’t really had racing at this level since the Olympics … I haven’t raced Katie in a long time so I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead.”
On the 24th of August 1978 in West Berlin, Tracey Wickham became Australia’s first 400m freestyle world swimming champion – setting a new world record time of 4:06.28 – a mark that lasted almost a decade before American legend Janet Evans eventually lowered the time to 4:03.85 – which lasted 18 years. Australia had to wait four decades for its next world champion when an 18-year-old, Tasmanian-born Queenslander Ariarne Titmus up-staged US pair Katie Ledecky and Leah Smith in a momentous swim in Gwangju in 2019 – rocketing her into international swimming stardom.