Ariarne Titmus is happy at swimming fast again but annoyed she cannot yet break the longest-standing women’s world record. Titmus won the 200 metres freestyle at the Australian championships on Friday night, swimming faster than when she won Olympic gold in the event last year.
Titmus clocked one minute 53.31 seconds in Adelaide, some 0.19 seconds quicker than when she won the event at the Tokyo Games. The dual Olympic champion was eyeing the world record of 1:52.98 set by Italy’s Federica Pellegrini in 2009 during the super-suit era, the longest-standing benchmark in women’s swimming.
“It’s definitely one of the more challenging world records,” said Titmus, who has come agonisingly close to Pellegrini’s record – the Australian’s personal best is 1:53.09 at last year’s Olympic selection trials. “It’s annoying when your PB is this close to doing something great, but if you think about that, then you’re not going to get it.”
Titmus was primed for the record on Friday night after speaking with fellow Olympic champion Zac Stubblety-Cook, who set a world record in the men’s 200m breaststroke on Thursday night.
“After watching Zac and hearing Zac speak, I said to him I kind of feel the exact same way in my swimming at the moment – very free, just enjoying it, like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” she said. “And I think that in the near future that should be able to produce a swim that can be a PB.”
But that near future won’t be at next month’s world titles in Budapest, with Titmus skipping that meet to focus on the Commonwealth Games in July and August.
“I originally didn’t want to go to worlds because I didn’t think I was ready to be mentally at that level to deal with the pressure again,” she said. “And I didn’t want to have to go … world championships then try and get back for Commonwealth Games, I just wanted to have one meet that I could solely focus on. I am still sticking with my decision.”
Other Friday night winners at the national titles, which double as selection trials for the worlds and Commonwealth Games, included Stubblety-Cook in the 100m breaststroke.
Dual Olympic champion Kaylee McKeown won the women’s 100m backstroke and Isaac Cooper set an Australian record in his 50m backstroke triumph, clocking 24.44s, some 0.10 seconds inside the old mark. Brendon Smith (men’s 200m individual medley), Jenna Strauch (women’s 200m backstroke) and Elijah Winnington (men’s 800 metres) also saluted.