Tokyo: “Arnie” and the rookie to take on Katie Ledecky

11 August 2018

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Ariarne “Arnie” Titmus will be joined by former Coffs Harbour rookie Maddie Gough in tonight’s high profile 400m freestyle final featuring US superstar Katie Ledecky on night three of the Pan Pac swim meet at the Tatsumi International Aquatic Centre in Japan.
Fresh from Australia's 4x200m relay win last night, Titmus, 17, cruised to clock four minutes, 06.47 seconds to win her 400m heat and qualify third fastest for the medal race.
Gough, the 19-year-old who now trains under Chris Nesbitt at TSS Aquatics on the Gold Coast, snuck into the final as the second fastest Australian – clocking a personal best of 4:09.09 in the heat won by Ledecky in 4:02.57.
“I’m stoked with that – to be in that final with Ariarne and against Katie will be very exciting – I can’t wait,” said Gough.
Ledecky will once again be the one to beat – with the world and Olympic champion almost four seconds faster than Titmus, who remains unfazed.
"Everyone is beatable. She is only human," Titmus said of world record holder Ledecky.
"She had a tough race before that 200m. It goes to show it is tough to back up.
"I am glad I didn't do the 200m and do a swim that I may have been disappointed with."
Titmus - who claimed 800m silver behind Ledecky on Thursday - hopes to become the first Australian woman to crack the four-minute barrier in Saturday's final, lowering her own national record of 4:00.93.
"It's always reachable and I am feeling good. I am going to go out hard tonight like I always do," she said.
Titmus led off in Australia's 4x200m relay team which claimed gold last night in a new championship record, breaking the national mark set by the Beijing Olympic gold medal team of Stephanie Rice, Bronte Barratt, Kylie Palmer and Linda McKenzie.
Meanwhile, Olympic champion Mack Horton (3:47.75) was third fastest for the men’s 400m freestyle final more than two seconds behind top qualifier, American Zane Grothe.
Australia's Jack McLoughlin was second fastest in 3:45.41.
"After that 200m I was a bit annoyed. I just want to get up and see what I can do," he said.
In more racing action, Emma McKeon was third fastest for the 100m butterfly final in 58.47 after Japan's Rikako Ikee topped qualifying in a new championship record (56.90 seconds).
Clyde Lewis (1:58.47) and Mitch Larkin (1:59.48) were fourth and seventh fastest respectively for the 200m individual medley final.
Other Aussies in Saturday finals action are Olympians Brianna Throssell (59.36) in the women’s and Grant Irvine (51.99) and David Morgan (52.47) in their respective 100m butterfly finals.

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