Titmus bests Ledecky in 400 free, sets record

Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus of Australia set the world record in the women’s 400-meter freestyle, powering to the gold medal in 3 minutes, 55.38 seconds at the swimming world championships Sunday.

Titmus eclipsed the 3:56.08 set by Summer McIntosh earlier this year and finished 3.35 seconds ahead of silver medalist Katie Ledecky of the United States. New Zealand’s Erika Fairweather edged out McIntosh to grab the bronze, finishing 4.21 seconds behind Titmus.

The clash between the trio of Titmus, Ledecky and McIntosh had generated “race of the century” hype, 20 years after Ian Thorpe beat Pieter van den Hoogenband and Michael Phelps at the 2004 Athens Olympics, and it was Titmus who laid down a marker for next year’s Paris Games.

It was the first of two world records to fall on the opening day of the swimming events at the World Aquatics Championships. Leon Marchand broke the nearly 15-year-old 400 individual medley mark that had been held by Michael Phelps. Marchand won the race in 4:02.50, breaking Phelps’ record by more than a second.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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