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Tasmanian swimming star focused solely on making Commonwealth Games squad

by ZwemZa on November 20th, 2017
Ariarne Titmus, 16, has qualified for the world championships where she will compete against one of the greatest ever swimmers, American star Katie Ledecky. Picture: AAP/GLENN HUNT

Ariarne Titmus, 16, qualified for the world championships where she competed against one of the greatest ever swimmers, American star Katie Ledecky. Picture: AAP/GLENN HUNT

Teen swimming sensation Ariarne Titmus has no issues carrying the hopes of a state on her shoulders as she prepares to lock down her place on the Commonwealth Games team.

The 17-year-old shot to prominence in July with a pair of brilliant results on senior debut at the world championships in Budapest in the 400m freestyle and Australia’s 4x200m relay team.

She finished fourth in the 400m behind American 11-time world champion superstar Katie Ledecky, before anchoring the country’s relay quartet which won bronze.

Earlier in the year at the national trials Titmus wiped five seconds off her personal best in claiming the 400m freestyle title, before smashing her 800m personal best by 14 seconds.

It saw the now Brisbane-based talent, who grew up in Launceston, become the first Tasmanian female to win an open national long course crown since Launceston’s Audrey Moore won the 100m backstroke title in 1983, and the first Tasmanian overall since Scott Goodman claimed gold in the 200m butterfly in 1991.

Now with next year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast essentially in her backyard, Titmus is gunning for a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to compete in front of family and friends.

“I was a bit overwhelmed by how many people watched and got up to watch me race in Budapest,” said Titmus, who was in Hobart yesterday at an Optus Junior Dolphins session at the Aquatic Centre.

“It is such a rare thing to have a Tasmanian on the national swimming team and I am proud to represent Tassie.

“I definitely want to make sure I am on that team because it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Despite her world championship efforts thrusting her into the limelight, Titmus is happy to shoulder more expectations.

“There is probably a little bit more pressure once you get known a bit more, going into Budapest I had no pressure whatsoever, my first long course team, I could just do what I wanted to do.

“Now having won a medal there is a bit more expectation but it hasn’t changed my mindset going into racing.

“Sometimes having pressure is a good thing, it makes you swim faster.”

Titmus’ coach Dean Boxall believes his rising star is still yet to reach her full potential, and is confident she cannot only handle, but thrive with the pressure that comes with a major event on home soil.

“She was training really well before trials, I didn’t predict her to be going that fast at trails, but it was a testament to what she has been doing,” Boxall said.

“Now she believes, which is a great thing. She has kept her head down, she is very humble.

“She will evolve in the next few years, we look now and go back to pictures from last year and her physique is evolving, you are building a body for 2020.”

Adam Smith

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