Aussie Ariarne Titmus Knocks Off Katie Ledecky; Peaty, MacNeil, Dressel Win Gold

By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, July 25, 2021–In a thrilling showdown, Ariarne Titmus of Australia knocked off defending champion and world record holder Katie Ledecky Sunday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

Swimming side-by-side in the 400-meter freestyle, the Tasmanian-born Titmus, 20, closed the gap to 2/10ths of a second at the 300-meter mark and pulled ahead in the final 50 meters to win in 3:56.69, an Oceanic women’s record and second fastest time in history.

Titmus, ranked No. 1 in the world, handed Ledecky, 24, her first individual Olympic loss. The American finished in 3:57.36, her second fastest career time. China’s Bingjie Li was third in an Asian record 4:01.88.

“I can’t believe it, I’m trying to contain my emotions,” Titmus said. “This past year I don’t know whether it’s gone fast or slow, but to get here was a relief. To come here and do the job, I’m over the moon.

“I thanked her, I wouldn’t be here without her. She set this incredible standard. I’ve been trying to chase her, it’s really exciting now we have this battle going. It’s really fun to race.

“I tried to stay as composed as I could. Then just tried to stick to my race plan. I can’t believe I pulled it off.”

The Ledecky-Titmus matchup was one of the most anticipated and talked-about Olympic races. Titmus had defeated Ledecky at the 2019 World Championships in South Korea in the 400 freestyle but Ledecky had a severe stomach virus. In June, Titmus had flirted with Ledecky’s world record of 3:56.46 when she went 3:56.90 at her country’s Olympic trials.

Titmus won the first individual gold medal for Australia since Stephanie Rice in 2008.

“I looked at the 300 and saw she was right there,” Ledecky said. “I knew it would be a fight to the finish. I can’t be disappointed. I did my best, I fought tooth and nail. She said she couldn’t have done it without me and I think she pushed me.”

Titmus’ coach Dean Boxall was emotional and animated after watching his swimmer touch first, running and gyrating in the stands.

It ended Ledecky’s quest to win the first of five possible gold medals. The two will meet again in the 200 and 800 freestyles and 4×200 freestyle relay.

In the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay final, anchor leg Zach Apple pulled away with a 46.6 split for a 9/10ths of a second lead to clinch the win for the U.S. in 3:08.97. Italy was second in 3:10.11 and Australia third in 3:10.22.

Floridian Caeleb Dressel led off in 47.2 followed by Blake Pieroni in 47.5 and Bowen Becker in 47.4 who led by 2/10ths after the third leg.

“We knew there was a huge target on our back,” said Dressel, a Clay High School, Bolles Club and Florida alum. “I’d say we dominated that pretty well. We’re never going to doubt ourselves, that’s not how the U.S. team works. We had a couple people rule us out in that event. We’re never going to take that so it feels nice to dominate and have it back on home soil.”

The U.S. men have won two of the last three Olympic 400 relays.

Local swimmers results:

Azura’s Celina Marquez of El Salvador, fifth in her heat of the 100-meter backstroke in 1:03.75.

Aruba’s Mikel Schreuders, an NSU University School/Pine Crest Club alum, second in his heat of the 200-meter freestyle in 1:49.43.

Azura’s Joaquin Vargas of Peru, third in his heat of the 200-meter freestyle in 1:49.93.

In other championship medal finals:

Women’s 100-meter butterfly:
Canadian Maggie MacNeil, in the outside lane, swam the second fastest time in history to win the gold medal in 55.59 ahead of China’s Yufei Zhang in 55.64 and Aussie Emma McKeon in 55.72. American 18-year-old Stanford-commit Torri Huske o f Arlington, Va. missed the podium by 1/100ths in 55.73. MacNeil, World and Pan Pac champion who swims at University of Michigan, is the first Canadian to win the gold medal in the event. Swimming without her contact lenses, it took her a while to focus on the scoreboard and realize she was listed first. World and Olympic record holder Sarah Sjoestroem of Sweden, who bounced back from a shattered elbow sustained slipping on ice, was seventh in 56.91.

Men’s 100-meter breaststroke: Defending champion, world record holder and heavy favorite Adam Peaty of Great Britain won back-to-back Olympic gold in 57.37 ahead of Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands in 58.00, the first medal in the event for his country and Nicolo Martinenghi of Italy in 58.33. American medal favorite Michael Andrew finished out of the medals placing fourth in 58.84.

100-meter butterfly: 1. Maggie MacNeil, CAN 55.59, 2. Yufei Zhang, CHINA 55.64, 3. Emma McKeon, AUS 55.72.

400-meter freestyle: 1. Ariarne Titmus, AUS 3:56.69, 2. Katie Ledecky, US 3:57.36, 3. Bingjie Li, CHINA 4:01.08.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Adam Peaty, GBR 57.37, 2. Arno Kamminga, Netherlands 58.00, 3. Nicolo Martinenghi, ITA 58.33.

4×100-meter freestyle relay: 1. United States 3:08.97, 2. Italy 3:10.11, 3. Australia 3:10.22.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Ledecky Opens USA Swimming Phillips 66 Nationals With A Win; SOFLO’s Golding Swims First Event

By Sharon Robb

IRVINE, Calif., July 25, 2018–Stanford’s Katie Ledecky won her opening event Wednesday at the Phillips 66 U.S. National Championships.

Ledecky, 21, under world record pace early in the race, won the 800-meter freestyle in 8:11.98. Leah Smith of Tuscon Ford Aquatics was second in 8:22.79.

The five-time Olympic gold medalist is looking for her 15th career world record. She is also entered in the 200, 400 and 1500-meter freestyles. She scratched from the 100 freestyle to focus on the 800.

In other races:

Simone Manuel swam the fastest 100-meter freestyle on American soil to win in a U.S. Open record 52.54. Her opening split was 25.62 and back end was 26.92.

Cal’s Nathan Adrian had his eight-year national title streak broken by Mission Viejo’s Blake Pieroni, 22, in a lifetime-best 48.08. Adrian, 29, was second in 48.25. It was the first time he lost the race in 2009.

Jordan Willimovsky, 24, won the 1500-meter freestyle in a life-time best 14:48.89, shaving 20.09 seconds off his previous best. St. Petersburg’s Robert Finke was second in 14:55.34.

In the 200-meter butterfly, Hali Flickinger, 24, of Athens Bulldogs won in 2:06.14 and Justin Wright, 22, of Tucson Ford won in 1:54.63.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Kathleen Golding, 17, finished 62nd in the 100-meter freestyle in 56.57, 0.37 off her best time. It was the first of five events she entered.

Golding swims the 200-meter freestyle (2:02.28) on Thursday, 400-meter individual (4:50.65) on Friday and 200-meter individual medley (2:17.19) and 50-meter freestyle (26.35) on Sunday.

The senior championship meet is one of the biggest meets of the summer. The meet is the selection trials for the Aug. 9-12 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo. The U.S. 2019 FINA World Championship team will be chosen based on combined results from nationals and Pan Pacs.

It’s also a selection meet for Junior Pan Pacs, Pan American Games and World University Games.

Prelims are 9 a.m. and finals 6 p.m. Pacific Time, three hours behind South Florida.

The meet will be shown on the webcast of, the Olympic Channel at, NBC and NBC Sports Network.

Thursday — Day 2, Olympic Channel (9 p.m), NBCSN (11 p.m.)

Friday — Day 3, Olympic Channel (9 p.m.), NBCSN (11 p.m.)

Saturday — Taped footage, NBC (3 p.m.); Day 4, Olympic Channel (10 p.m.)

Sunday — Day 4, NCBCSN (1 a.m.); Taped footage, NBC (3 p.m.); Day 5, Olympic Channel (9 p.m.)

Monday — Day 5, NBCSN (6 p.m.)

Stream: or NBC Sports app


200-meter butterfly: 1. Hali Flickinger, ABSC 2:06.14, 2. Katie Drabot, STAN 2:07.18, 3 Regan Smith, RIP 2:07.42; FGC: 44. Mary Smutny, AquaKids Sharks 2:14.97.

100-meter freestyle: 1. Simone Manuel, STAN 52.54, 2. Mallory Comerford, LOUIS 53.09, 3. Margo Geer, MVN 53.44; FGC: 43. Megan Moroney, CAV 55.98, 62. Kathleen Golding 56.57, 87. Kyla Valls, CAV 57.35, 93. Mary Smutny, AquaKids Sharks.

800-meter freestyle:
1. Katie Ledecky, STAN 8:11.98, 2. Leah Smith, FORD 8:22.79, 3. Haley Anderson, TRO 8:24.13.


200-meter butterfly: 1. Justin Wright, FORD 1:54.63, 2.Zach Harting, LOUIS 1:55.11, 3. Jack Conger, NCAP 1:55.21; FGC: 33. Luke Smutny, PITT 2:00.24, time drop 0.15.

100-meter freestyle: 1. Blake Pieroni, MVN 48.08, 2. Nathan Adrian, CAL 48.25, 3. Townley Hess, NOVA 48.30; FGC: None.

1500-meter freestyle:
1. Jordan Willimovsky, TSM 14:48.89, 2. Robert Finke, SPA 14:55.34, 3. Zane Grothe MVN 15:00.85.

Sharon Robb can be reached at