Australian swimming sensation, Ariarne Titmus believes she is in a great mental and physical condition to be crowned World Champion for a second time at this month’s Swimming World Championships in Japan.
The 22-year-old, who achieved this feat in 2019 and also took out gold in the 400m Freestyle event at last year’s Commonwealth Games, earned her position in the World Championships by clocking in at 3:58.47 in last month’s qualifiers.
The 400m World Record of 3:56.40 she set in last year’s Australian Swimming Championships was beaten last month by American teenager, Summer McIntosh.
Although Titmus was unable to retrieve her World Record in the World Championship qualifiers, she remains optimistic about her preparation heading into Japan.
“I’m really happy with my prep the past few months, I feel like I’ve really kicked into gear,” she said.
“Especially in the last month, I feel as if I’ve done things in training I’ve never done before, which is a nice feeling to have”.
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While Titmus admitted she wasn’t thrilled with her performance at the beginning of the year, she believes she has turned her form around as of late.
“I feel like my preps built, the beginning of the year I wasn’t too happy with where I was, I’ve really shifted my mindset and I’m really happy with where I’m at,” she said.
“I had a lot going on in my personal life, which was overriding my focus on swimming and I tried to sort that out as much as I can.
“I’ve realigned my focus and realised where my priorities should lay, World Championships are nothing to sway away from.
“I’ve had to prioritise what I want from this year, which was swimming and I’m really happy about it”.
The 2019 World Championships were incredibly successful for Titmus, thrusting her into the elite level of the sport.
The 22-year-old hopes this year’s Championships will be able to provide a similar effect, in addition to the high-pressure environment giving an opportunity to prepare for next year’s Paris Olympics.
“The 2019 Worlds was a great stepping stone for me, it was where I had one of my first major breakthroughs becoming World Champion for the first time,” she said.
“I feel like it’s a great building block for the Olympics, I think racing at this high pressure is great practice for next year.
“I haven’t really had any racing at this level since the Olympics, I haven’t raced my main competitor, Katie Ledecky, so I’m looking forward to the challenges which is exciting”.
Although many in the swimming world would consider Titmus to be the ‘hunted’ going into the Championships, she doesn’t see herself that way and explained the level of talent on display at the moment makes the sport great to watch for fans.
“I like to pretend I’m hunting, that way I’m hungrier, but going into this event I feel there’s a very even keel in the 400s especially, which is very exciting,” she said.
“I’d love to be a fan of swimming right now.
“There’s going to be three women hopefully very close to a world record or breaking a world record, I feel very blessed to be a part of that.
“To be hunter or hunted, I’m just going to go in there and give it a red-hot crack”.
Titmus returns to the World Championship scene after electing to miss last year’s event to focus on the Commonwealth Games, racing the likes of Summer McIntosh and Katie Ledecky in the 400m World Championship event from the 14th to the 30th of July.