TRAINING GROUP: Ariarne Titmus, centre, with the Australian women's 200m freestyle and relay squad at Noosa Heads on Saturday.
TRAINING GROUP: Ariarne Titmus, centre, with the Australian women's 200m freestyle and relay squad at Noosa Heads on Saturday. John McCutcheon

Aussie young gun says US swim star can be beaten

SWIMMING: Talented Aussie Ariarne Titmus believes US superstar Katie Ledecky is beatable and she's doing the best she can to try and close the gap.

The 18-year-old, who was at Noosa Heads for an Australian women's 200m freestyle camp last week, is coming off the back of a breakthrough year.

She broke the four-minute mark for 400m in August, when she finished behind Ledecky at the Pan-Pacific Championships at Tokyo.

And she claimed a short course world record for 200m in December, when the American was a notable absence.

Ledecky, 21, remains the juggernaut over middle distance, having captured the 200m, 400m and 800m treble at the Rio Olympics.

But Titmus insists she's beatable.

"Definitely. She's just like me. She's as fast as she is because she trains hard," she said.

"She's just a human. Anyone can swim as fast as they want as long as they work for it and have the right mentality.

"I think if I approach training and racing in the best way possible (then) anyone's beatable."

Titmus, who won three gold medals at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast last year, has emerged as somewhat of a threat to Ledecky during the past season.

"It's a big task to try and beat her but I still have the same race plan going into any race, whether it's against her or someone else it doesn't really matter," she said.

"I know what I have to do try and swim my fastest and at the moment it's not quite good enough to beat her ... but I'm doing the best I can to try and knock her off."

She's working hard on her turns. "They're getting better. They've obviously improved, with my win at world short course, but I've still got to improve a lot more if I want to get faster," she said.

Australian 4x200m freestyle coach Dean Boxall said Titmus was working hard on her skills - her diving and turns.

"Her stroke is very good. She's got the ability to hold a pretty good rate and move forward and get a really good hold of the water but her dive and turns are absolutely not even in the ball park of ball parks," he said.

"If you're turning and missing Katie by 0.3(sec) or missing Taylor Ruck by 0.5 on turn time you would want to fix that."

Boxall said Titmus is a clear "underdog" against Ledecky and that she needs to work hard to close the gap.

"Arnie's still behind and behind by a long way. She needs to know that and keep chugging away and keep trying to pull back Katie or whoever is number one.

"That's her task, to make sure she's trying to improve every single time, whatever she's doing."

She was among eight athletes at Swimming Australia's week-long national women's 200m freestyle and relay camp at Noosa Heads.

Sunshine Coasters Mikkayla Sheridan, Leah Neale and Lani Pallister were amid the action, along with Koti Ngawati, Gemma Cooney, Elyse Woods and Shayna Jack.

The Australian 4x200m women's freestyle team is ranked one in the world, having beaten the United States at the Pan Pacific Championships.

"That's given us great confidence leading into the world championships and Olympics," Titmus said.

"We have to try and capitalise on that and all work together and keep building and training towards 2020. We have great potential in the relay."


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