/ 27 July 2021

As good as gold

If Norman May was around, it would have been worthy of a “GOLD, GOLD for Australia, GOLD”… That’s how Ariarne Titmus and her win over American Katie Ledecky in the 400m freestyle final made many around the nation feel yesterday afternoon. In the most anticipated 4 minutes of swimming at these Games, Titmus executed the perfect race to win in 3:56.69, just 0.67secs ahead of Ledecky. As mum Robyn said of her golden girl, “God, she can race.” And the gold medal for the best reaction? That goes to her coach Dean Boxall

You might need a bit of background on who Ledecky is… She’s the most successful female swimmer of all time. Since her Olympic debut in London in 2012 at 16yo, she has won 5 gold medals, 15 World Championship titles, and has claimed a string of world records across the distances of 200m all the way up to 1,500m. Yesterday, the 20yo Titmus became the first woman to beat Ledecky in an individual Olympic final. But it wasn’t a total surprise… Titmus beat Ledecky in the same event at the 2019 World Championships – and now, she’s done it at the Olympic level. Yesterday, Ledecky congratulated Titmus, and Titmus praised Ledecky. “I wouldn’t be here without her. She set this incredible standard. All credit to her for the swimmer she is,” the Aussie said.

So, the benchmark is the last Olympics in Rio, where we were second on the swimming tally with 3 gold, 4 silver, and 3 bronze medals. And despite early concerns about the team’s chances, particularly on the men’s side, we’re going well. Three days in, we have 6 medals – 2 gold, one silver, and 3 bronze. And there’s still 6 days left in the program that will see our stars – Emma McKeon, Kaylee McKeown, Kyle Chalmers and more – given a chance to shine. Oi, oi, oi…

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