Olympics: Ariarne Titmus stuns Katie Ledecky in 400m freestyle swimming final

Ariarne Titmus (left) and Katie Ledecky in the women's 400m freestyle final at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 26, 2021.
Ariarne Titmus (left) and Katie Ledecky in the women's 400m freestyle final at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 26, 2021.PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO - In a triumphant performance, Australia's Ariarne Titmus upset reigning champion Katie Ledecky of the United States in the women's 400m freestyle final on Monday (July 26).

Titmus finished in 3min 56.69sec and Ledecky in 3:57.36. China's Li Bingjie was third in 4.01.08.

Ledecky, only 24, is already the owner of five Olympic golds from 2012 and 2016, but the 20-year-old Tasmanian would not be denied. It is her first Olympic Games title.

For a year now the biggest showdown in swimming has been heralded as Ledecky against Titmus. Between them their nations own more than 300 Olympic golds in swimming and the rivalry is an old one.

In the 10 best times ever in this event, the American holds eight and the Australian two. But at the 2019 world championships, Titmus defeated an unwell Ledecky in the 400m and the race to Tokyo was on.

The race at this Olympics was as dramatic as it was forecast. Ledecky led for most of the race, which is her style, but Titmus finally took the lead at the 350m mark and held on to win.