Australian swimmer who won gold in the 400-meter freestyle credited Katie Ledecky with setting a new 'standard'
Ariarne Titmus and Katie Ledecky have mutual respect. Xavier Laine / Getty Images
Ariarne Titmus defeated Katie Ledecky for gold in the 400 meter freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics.
Afterward, Titmus credited Ledecky for setting a new standard for freestylers.
Ledecky guessed Titmus' win and said it was "great for the sport".
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The Australian Ariarne Titmus defeated Katie Ledecky in the 400 meter freestyle on Sunday and pulled away with a strong final 100 meters to win gold.
Titmus was by no means an underdog - she defeated Ledecky in the 2019 World Cup and was viewed by some as a favorite to win on Sunday. But given the age difference (20-24) and experience difference, it still felt like a surprise: a rising star defeating the most dominant swimmer in the world.
After that, Titmus credited Ledecky, saying she wouldn't be on the podium without Ledecky first setting a new standard.
"I wouldn't be here without her," said Titmus, telling reporters that she thanked Ledecky after the race. "She set that standard for middle-distance freestyle. If I didn't have someone like her to chase, I definitely wouldn't swim the way I am."
When the race was over, Titmus swam over to Ledecky and the two hugged as they got out of the pool.
Tim Clayton / Corbis / Getty Images
For her part, Ledecky couldn't have done much more to stop Titmus in Sunday's final. Ledecky swam her second fastest time ever. Ledecky holds the world record, which means that Titmus was the second fastest time ever on Sunday.
Ledecky tipped her hat on to Titmus.
"I knew it was going to be a fight until the end," said Ledecky. “I didn't feel as though I was dead. She only had the faster 50 or 75. It couldn't be better. ''
Ledecky also told NBC's Michelle Tafoya, "She really pushed me. I think it's great for the sport."
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