Aussie Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus backs Kate Ledecky’s coaching switch

Emma GreenwoodNews Corp Australia Sports Newsroom
Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus with their Olympic 400m freestyle medals in Tokyo. Adam Head
Camera IconKatie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus with their Olympic 400m freestyle medals in Tokyo. Adam Head Credit: News Corp Australia

Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus hopes Katie Ledecky’s training switch fuels her desire to remain at the elite level so the pair can continue one of the greatest rivalries in swimming history.

Titmus will spend the next week recharging her batteries before heading back to training for a 2022 campaign that will include both the Commonwealth Games and world championships.

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Camera IconKatie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus with their Olympic 400m freestyle medals in Tokyo. Adam Head Credit: News Corp Australia

And she hopes she is able to resume her rivalry with Ledecky, who last week announced she would switch training programs from Stanford University to the University of Florida ahead of the next Olympics in Paris in 2024.

Titmus, who beat Ledecky to the wall in both the 200m and 400m freestyle in Tokyo to win gold before a silver medal behind the world record-holder in the 800m, said she had not read too much into the move.

“She’s still going to be there and be a very fierce competitor of mine,” Titmus said of Ledecky, who will link with a top squad of male distance swimmers in Florida, including double Olympic champion Bobby Finke.

“I hope that she stays at the standard that she’s been at because it pushes me and it means that we get to have fun races.

“I wish her all the best. I guess she was in need of a change and I’m happy that hopefully she’s found a place that’s going to be good for her.

“I think it’s the move that maybe she needed to have.”

Titmus was speaking from Rockhampton in central Queensland after conducting a coaching clinic with Swimming Queensland for locals.

“I feel like I have more purpose than just to be a competitor in swimming, I feel like I can really advise and inspire young kids and I want to have that impact,” she said.

It’s a full-circle moment for Titmus, whose dreams of winning Olympic gold were fuelled by a visit from triple Olympic champion Stephanie Rice to her home pool in Tasmania in 2012.

“I distinctly remember Stephanie Rice coming down to Launceston, that was a big deal for us,” Titmus said.

“We didn’t get those big names come down very often … it was a big deal and that’s why it was important for me to come (to Rockhampton). I feel like it’s really important to give back.”

The 50m pool at the Launceston Aquatic Centre – the same one that Rice visited as an Olympic champion almost a decade ago – will be renamed the Ariarne Titmus Competition Pool and she has already been back mentoring the next generation of champions to keep the cycle turning.

The 21-year-old will return to training with coach Dean Boxall next week.

“I have one more week left, so I have to cherish it,” she said.

“I feel like I’ve been running around like a headless chook I’ve had so much stuff on. But I feel like I’m ready to go back.

“When I get back into training I’m going to take it slowly, I don’t have to be at my very best next year – I want to peak again in three years’ time.

“I want to be at a level where I can be really competitive at (world championships and Commonwealth Games next year) but understand that I don’t want to go too hard, too soon, I want to make sure that I can be ready for Paris.”

Originally published as Aussie Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus backs Kate Ledecky’s coaching switch

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