Aussie Olympic star Ariarne Titmus, 20, records fastest time as she storms through 200m freestyle final – with rival Katie Ledecky qualifying third
Australian swimming gold girl Ariarne Titmus has won her 200m freestyle semifinal and will face US swimming great Katie Ledecky for the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
The 20-year-old will now swim for her second gold medal in the final, having sensationally won Ledecky in a gripping final in the 400m freestyle on Monday to take her first gold of the global sporting event.
Titmus was just behind second place Siobhan Bernadette Haughey, but brought him home in the last 50 meters.
In the second round of the semifinals on Tuesday morning, Ledecky also took the win and compatriot Madison Wilson was fourth, but her time will secure her a spot in the final.
Titmus scored the fastest time in the 200m half freestyle, finishing at one minute and 54 seconds.
Behind her was Haughey with one minute 55.16 seconds and Ledecky followed in third with one minute 55.34 seconds.
Ariarne Titmus swims for the gold medal in the 200m freestyle final at the Tokyo Olympics after setting the fastest time in the semifinals on Tuesday.
Titmus scored the fastest time in the 200m half freestyle, finishing at one minute and 54 seconds
Seven hours after Titmus’ victory in the 400m, she again swam in the heat of the 200m freestyle to score a spot in the semifinals, while Ledecky also crossed and set Monday night’s fastest time of one minute 55, 28 seconds.
Australian Titmus (1:55.88) was fourth fastest and rarely got into top gear, while compatriot Madi Wilson (1:55.87) was third fastest in Tuesday’s semi-final.
Titmus and Ledecky had little time to rest after their gold medal race in the 400m became an instant Olympic classic.
Ariarne Titmus (pictured, right) is on track for another showdown with American star Kate Ledecky (left) in Tokyo. The pair are pictured after the 400m final which was stunningly won by the Aussie
The Tasmanian-born 20-year-old now living in Queensland has always been rated a true gold medalist in the 200m, and this year boasts the world-leading time in the event.
Her 400m freestyle win is Australia’s second gold medal at the Tokyo Games, following the success of the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay.
And it gives Ledecky, considered the best swimmer ever, her first defeat in an Olympic final.
Titmus, in lane three, kept an eye on Ledecky in lane four in what became the ultimate match race between the pair.
The American held the lead for the first 300 meters, but Titmus kept an eye on her the entire time, literally lurking.
The young Australian approached ominously, standing just 0.16 seconds behind Ledecky with 100 meters to go.
Titmus then brought in her rival in a perfectly executed race plan to win by half a body length in a time of three minutes 56.69 seconds.
Her coach Dean Boxall’s reaction after Titmus touched the wall quickly went viral with footage showing him tearing off his face mask and running up and down the stands.
Boxall then grabbed a glass barrier and shook it noisily as he spun around the railing.
He then slammed into the air and screamed at the pool when a startled Japanese Olympic worker nervously tried to encourage him back into his section.
Ariarne Titmus (photo) was the fourth fastest qualifying race in the 200-meter freestyle on Tuesday evening
Meanwhile, American star Ledecky, a five-time Olympic champion, is also in the midst of a 1,500-meter campaign.
Shortly after her 200m heat, Ledecky’s relentless program continued with a 1500m freestyle heat – which she duly won.
The Australian 1500m pair, Maddy Gough and Kiah Melverton, reached the final in seventh and eighth place respectively – their times were 20 seconds outside Ledecky’s.
In the men’s 200m butterfly, Australian duo Matt Temple and David Morgan failed to advance to the semi-finals.
Hours earlier, Ariarne Titmus was ahead of her fiercest rival with gold in the 400m freestyle