Australian swimmer who won gold in the 400-meter freestyle credited Katie Ledecky with setting a new 'standard'

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Australian swimmer who won gold in the 400-meter freestyle credited Katie Ledecky with setting a new 'standard'
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Ariarne Titmus and Katie Ledecky smile in the pool at the Tokyo Olympics
Ariarne Titmus and Katie Ledecky have mutual respect. Xavier Laine/Getty Images

Australia's Ariarne Titmus beat Katie Ledecky in the 400-meter freestyle on Sunday, pulling away with a strong final 100 meters to win the gold.

Titmus wasn't an underdog by any means - she beat Ledecky in world championships in 2019 and was viewed by some as the favorite to win on Sunday. But given the age difference (20 to 24) and experience gap, it still felt like somewhat of an upset: a rising star knocking off the most dominant swimmer in the world.

Afterward, Titmus credited Ledecky, saying she wouldn't be atop the podium without Ledecky first setting a new standard.

"I wouldn't be here without her," Titmus said, telling reporters she thanked Ledecky after the race. "She's set this standard for middle-distance freestyle. If I didn't have someone like her to chase, I definitely wouldn't be swimming the way I am.''

When the race was over, Titmus swam to Ledecky, and the two embraced when they got out of the pool.

Ariarne Titmus puts her arm around Katie Ledecky at the Tokyo Olympics.
Tim Clayton/Corbis/Getty Images

Ledecky, for her part, could not have done much more to hold off Titmus in the final on Sunday. Ledecky swam her second-fastest time ever in the event. Ledecky holds the world record, meaning Titmus' time on Sunday was the second-fastest time ever.

Ledecky tipped her cap to Titmus.

"I knew it was going to be a battle to the end,'' Ledecky said. "I didn't feel like I died. She just had that faster 50 or 75. Can't get much better than that.''

Ledecky also told NBC's Michelle Tafoya: "She's really pushed me. I think it's great for the sport."

Read the original article on Insider