Murray Wenzel / AAP News
The three-time Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist is looking forward to an exciting 2022 where she has targeted the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Ariarne Titmus OAM won’t commit to a Katie Ledecky rematch yet, admitting their mentally taxing duel needs managing as she eyes a “fun” Commonwealth Games charge.
The new 400m world record holder took Ledecky’s Olympic title in one of Tokyo’s great moments last year, but won’t swim at Budapest’s World Championships later this month.
She will instead race in Birmingham at July’s Commonwealth Games and is contemplating a European holiday after that.
That break would mean she misses August’s Duel in the Pool in Sydney and deny another Titmus-Ledecky match-up, something the bubbly 21-year-old knows every swimming fan wants.
“Still deciding on Duel in the Pool,” she said at Wednesday’s launch of the Speedo suits they’ll wear in Birmingham.
“Definitely it’s something I’d love to do; I know people are looking to see if I’ll be racing Katie, it’s always a very highly anticipated battle.
“I’ve had to learn how to race on my own and whenever I race her I feel like I’m actually in a race.
“So I love that, but the battle with her comes with external pressure.
“Last year was huge for me, mentally too, a lot of pressure around my races.
“I didn’t really want to have to deal with that pressure again (by competing at the World Championships).”
Instead she hopes to channel the freedom she felt at Adelaide’s national titles in Birmingham, and go faster again.
“I’d like to think so,” she said.
“I shouldn’t be swimming my fastest at trials, I should be swimming my best at the meets that matter.
“I was not ready to rush around and be on the plane by Saturday to leave (for the Worlds).
“I’d love to go out and defend my World Championship but I’m thinking about Paris (2024 Games) and the Commonwealth Games, from what I remember on the Gold Coast was so fun.”
She won’t have it all her own way though, with 15-year-old Canadian Summer McIntosh emerging as a genuine prospect.
McIntosh’s recent 4:01.59 effort was the third-quickest this year, behind Titmus’s world record 3:56.40 in May.
“I remember when I was Summer’s age, I wasn’t swimming 4:01, 4:02,” she said.
“And she doesn’t have the strength yet that we have and when she does she is going to be a force to be reckoned with.
“There is this unbelievable depth and in Paris the race won’t just be between Katie and I.”