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Aussie teen ‘Terminator’ Titmus sets swimming world record


By Agence France-Presse

Australian prodigy Ariarne Titmus broke the women’s short-course 400m freestyle record on Friday to grab her second gold medal at the World Swimming Championships in China.

In a battle of the talented teenagers, the 18-year-old — dubbed the “Terminator” — blasted away the twin threat of home hopes Wang Jianjiahe and Li Bingjie in Hangzhou’s 25m pool.

Titmus claimed a dominant victory in 3mins 53.92secs, narrowly bettering the 3:53.97 clocked in October by rival Wang, who is just 16.

Wang, an easy winner in the 800m freestyle on Thursday, was forced into silver, 0.64secs behind Titmus, with Li a distant 4.07secs off.

Titmus also claimed gold on Tuesday, the first day of competition, in the 200m freestyle in an Australian and Oceania record time of 1:51.38.

“I am a little bit in shock,” she said after her latest triumph.

“I knew the Chinese girl (Wang) would go out fast and I was worried she would have a little left in the tank at the end, but I held her off.

“I can’t believe it and for it to be a short-course world record is something. I am someone who does not pride themselves on speed, but I will take it.”

It has been a breakthrough year for the young Australian, who won three golds at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games earlier in 2018.

She only turned 18 in September and has already earned the nickname “Terminator” — her Dad calls her “Arnie” and that became Terminator in Australian media after the Arnold Schwarzenegger character.

There was a surprise in the men’s 50m freestyle when Caeleb Dressel of the United States, who has been likened to US swimming legend Michael Phelps, was beaten into silver by Russia’s Vladimir Morozov.

The 26-year-old Morozov put the new golden boy of US swimming into the shadows, touching the wall in 20.33secs, 0.21 ahead of Dressel.

Despite that disappointment, the United States have dominated in Hangzhou and, with Dressel on the first leg, broke the world record in the men’s 4x50m freestyle with a time of 1:21.80.

That was the Americans’ 10th gold.

China’s triple Olympic champion Sun Yang is not competing in individual events in Hangzhou, but was in the hosts’ 4x200m freestyle team.

The 27-year-old was given the biggest cheer of the night and China briefly led the race with him on the third leg, before falling back into bronze.

Brazil took gold in a new record time.