Olympics-Australian Titmus lays down the gold standard for Tokyo

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Ariarne Titmus of Australia competes in the 2019 FINA World Swimming Championships in South Korea

By Richard Evans

ADELAIDE (Reuters) - Australia's Ariarne Titmus confirmed she is one to watch at the Tokyo Olympics by smashing the Commonwealth record in the women’s 200m freestyle on Monday, a day after swimming the second fastest 400m freestyle of all time.

Her 200m time of 1:53.09 at the Australian Olympic trials was 0.11 seconds outside Federica Pellegrini’s longstanding world record from 2009, and her 3:56.90 in the 400m on Sunday was also a new commonwealth record.

The 20-year-old's performances confirm her as a contender for three gold medals - in the 200m, 400m and 4 x 200m relay - next month at the Tokyo games.

A shoulder injury had dogged her before the trials at the South Australia Aquatic Centre.

“The shoulder is holding up really well,” she said. “At the start of the week I was a bit worried, it was a bit sore but I am managing that as best I can. We have a great team of physios and therapists here.”

There is still room for improvement between now and Tokyo, she said, adding: “I am a racer, I hope I can lift it for the Olympic Games.”

After six swimmers in the 200m final dipped under the Olympic qualifying time, she was asked whether Australia's 4 x 200m freestyle relay team was unstoppable.

"Yes," she answered. "It’s unbelievable."

Emma McKeon, who won four medals at the Rio Olympics in 2016, took the second individual 200m freestyle spot in Tokyo.

A lively Adelaide crowd backed the swimmers on day three of the swim-offs, with the women in particular shining.

Kaylee McKeown, 19, set a personal best of 2:08.19 in the 200m individual medley to qualify for Tokyo, despite staying up into the early hours after breaking the world record in the 100m backstroke on Sunday.

"My phone charge was pretty flat pretty quick," she said. “The toughest thing to overcome this morning was fatigue.”

Matthew Temple, 21, will contest his first Olympics after winning the men’s 200m individual medley in 1:55.25, with David Morgan, 27, accompanying him to Tokyo.

Jack McLoughlin qualified for the inaugural men’s 800m freestyle in Tokyo in 7:42.51.

(Editing by Timothy Heritage)