TOKYO – Japan Today
Australia’s Ariarne Titmus beat Katie Ledecky in the women’s 400 meters freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday.
Titmus chased down Ledecky to win one of the most anticipated races of the Summer Games, capturing the gold medal with the second-fastest time in history.
Titmus, who trailed by nearly a full body-length at the halfway mark of the eight-lap race, turned on the speed to touch in 3 minutes, 56.69 seconds.
Ledecky was the defending Olympic champion and world-record holder. She settled for the silver this time in 3:57.36 — the fourth-fastest time ever recorded.
No one else was even close. The bronze went to China’s Li Bingjie in 4:01.08.
Ledecky’s runner-up finish was another disappointment for the Americans after a dynamic start to the swimming competition.
The powerhouse team won six of 12 medals on Sunday but was shut out of the medals in the first two finals Monday. Torri Huske and Michael Andrew just missed out with fourth-place finishes, then it was Ledecky settling for the second spot on the podium — a very unfamiliar place for perhaps the greatest women’s freestyle swimmer in history.
Ledecky lost an individual Olympic final for the first time after winning the 800 free at the 2012 London Games, then capturing three more golds in the 200, 400 and 800 free at Rio de Janeiro five years ago.
Ledecky will get another crack at Titmus in the 200 free, and the American is heavily favored to repeat in the 800 and add another gold in the 1,500 — a new event for the women at these games.
Perhaps the surest bet at the pool, Britain’s Adam Peaty repeated as Olympic champion in the men’s 100 breaststroke.
Peaty was the world-record holder and the first man to break both 58 and 57 seconds in his signature event. He posted the fifth-fastest time in history (57.37) to blow away the field.
Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands claimed the silver in 58.00, while the bronze went to Italy’s Nicolo Martinenghi in 58.33. Andrew was next in 58.84.
Maggie MacNeil captured Canada’s first gold medal at the pool with a victory in the women’s 100 butterfly.
The reigning world champion touched first in 55.59, edging out Zhang Yufei of China (55.64) for the top spot. Emma McKeon of Australia took the bronze in 55.72, beating the 18-year-old Huske by one-hundredth of a second.
Huske went out fast, as is her style, and appeared to be close to the front with about 10 meters to go. But she faded on her final strokes and just missed a spot on the podium.
Defending champion and world-record holder Sarah Sjöström of Sweden was seventh.
Caeleb Dressel got started on his quest for six gold medals in swimming Monday. Dressel led off an American victory in the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay.
Dressel gave the U.S. the lead, and the men never relinquished it in the relay. He swam the first leg in a blistering 47.26. Blake Pieroni and Bowe Becker kept the Americans out front before Zach Apple turned in an anchor leg of 46.69 to leave no doubt at the end.
The U.S. won in 3:08.97, the third-fastest time in history. Italy took the silver in 3:10.11, with the bronze going to Australia in 3:10.22.
Apple climbed from the pool to an embrace from Dressel, who is set for a grueling schedule of three individual events and three relays in Tokyo.
One down, five to go.