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400m freestyle: Ariarne Titmus of Australia beats Katie Ledecky


It’s the first of their multiple showdowns in Tokyo.

WASHINGTON — Australia’s Ariarne Titmus has defeated American Katie Ledecky in the 400-meter freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics.

Titmus won one of the most anticipated races of the 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.

Defending Olympic champion and world-record holder Ledecky 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.

It’s the first of their multiple showdowns in Tokyo.

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.

The powerhouse American team got off to a rousing start at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, capturing six of 12 medals on the opening day of finals. That was more than they ever won on the first day during Michael Phelps’ stellar career, which encompassed the last five Olympics.

Phelps retired from competition after the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and is doing commentary for American broadcaster NBC at these Olympics.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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