Epic showdown looms between Titmus, Ledecky

2 months ago 17
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Katie Ledecky's teammates are already piling up Olympic medals. Now it's her turn, and she wants some hardware of her own.

Ledecky opened her Olympic program as the top qualifier in the 400-metre freestyle on Sunday night, setting up a showdown with Ariarne Titmus of Australia as the American star tries to defend her title.

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Ledecky advanced with a time of 4:00.45 seconds. Titmus was third-quickest in 4:01.66. The first of their multiple showdowns in Tokyo comes in the final on Monday morning.

"It's going to be a great race with Ariarne," Ledecky said.

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Ledecky will be looking to carry forward the momentum her teammates built on the first day of the meet, when the U.S. earned six of 12 medals on Sunday.

"Definitely feeling the energy from our team," she said. "Really great session this morning, so just trying to feed off that and get my meet rolling."

But Ledecky can expect a fight from Titmus.

Ariarne Titmus and Kate Ledecky. (Getty)

"I'd like to think I've got a bit more in the tank for the final," the Aussie said.

Ledecky won the 400 free with a world-record time five years ago in Rio. Titmus, the new star in Australian swimming, took down Ledecky at the 2019 world championships. She handed the American her first loss in the event at a major international meet, overtaking Ledecky in the final 50 meters to win by a full second.

"I know I've done the work," Titmus said. "I've just got to go out there and do the easy part of this whole situation."

China's Li Bingjie qualified second in 4:01.57. Also making the final was American Paige Madden.

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