Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus broke the women’s 400m freestyle world record — and defeated American rival Katie Ledecky and previous world record-holder Summer McIntosh of Canada — at the 2023 World Swimming Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, on Sunday.

Titmus, the reigning Olympic gold medalist in the event, led from 100 meters and ultimately clocked 3:55.38, cutting seven-hundredths off McIntosh’s world record and touching the wall more than three seconds ahead of Ledecky (3:58.73). New Zealand’s Erika Fairweather claimed bronze, while the 16-year-old McIntosh placed fourth.

Titmus, Ledecky, and McIntosh are the three fastest women to ever swim the 400m free and the event was billed as the ‘Race of the Century’ heading into this week’s world championships.

Ledecky owned the world record in the event from 2014 until last year, when Titmus claimed it for herself at Australian Championships. McIntosh then took it over at Canadian Trials in March.

“It wasn’t something (breaking the record) that I had my mind on for this meet,” Titmus told reporters in Japan. “I just wanted to come here and try and swim the way I know I’m capable of. I knew the only way to win — I believed — was to try to take it out (fast) and whoever had as much fight left at the end was going to win it.”

By taking silver, Ledecky claimed the 23rd world championship medal of her career, extending her mark as the most decorated female swimmer in world championship history.

“I think you could just see the world record coming. It’s been a very fast year of swimming and it was kind of predictable that it would be a really fast field,” Ledecky said. “I can’t really complain. My stroke feels good. I feel good in the water. I think all year my 800 has felt better than my 400, so I’m excited about the rest of my week.”

Ariarne Titmus made history at the Commonwealth Games on Sunday as Australia set a new world record to win the women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay in a time of 7 minutes, 39.29 seconds.

The Aussies beat the previous best, set by China at the Tokyo Olympics, by 1.04 seconds.

Titmus anchored the relay with a time of 1:52.82, the fastest relay split ever. She became the first woman to break 1:53 in a relay split.

The world record in the 200-meter individual freestyle is 1:52.98, set by Federica Pellegrini at the 2009 world championships. Those world championships were the last of the super suit era, as the suits were later banned at the beginning of 2010.

Titmus touched first for Australia, more than 12 seconds ahead of Canada, which took silver, and another five seconds ahead of England, which finished in third.

Also on Sunday, Emma McKeon became the most successful athlete in Commonwealth Games history, winning her 11th career gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle. She surpassed fellow Australian swimmers Ian Thorpe, Susie O’Neill and Leisel Jones for most career golds at the Games.

“It is a fun event for me, the 50. I feel like I am a lot more relaxed this year than last year,” McKeon said. “I have not done as much work as I had this time last year but the place I am in mentally is showing in my performances.”

In total, McKeon has won 16 Commonwealth Games medals. With four more races to go, she could surpass the record of 18 career medals.

Katie Ledecky may be using the U.S. swimming championships as an opportunity to swim in some unusual events, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t winning them.

The 10-time Olympic medalist took gold in the 400-meter individual medley in a time of 4 minutes, 35.77 seconds.

Not only was the time just a little over four seconds off of the American record (4:31.12), it also would have won her bronze at this year’s world championships. The mark also stands as best time of her career — two seconds ahead of her previous best of 4:37.93 from 2016 — and puts her at No. 13 all-time among American women.

Leah Smith, an Olympic bronze medalist in the 400 freestyle, battled Ledecky to the end and took silver with a time of 4:36.36. Delicia Pasadyn took third in 4:42.79.

Despite the win, Ledecky doesn’t think she’ll be adding the event to her lineup anytime soon. In Tokyo, she swam an Olympic record 6,200 meters all in freestyle races.

“I’ve got a lot of meters of racing that I would like to do at the big meets, so I think adding the 400m IM is a little bit of a stretch,” she said.

Ledecky has had a strong nationals so far, winning both the 200 and 800 freestyles as well as the 400 IM.

Katie Ledecky continues to dominate at the U.S. national championships. The 25-year-old won the 200-meter freestyle Wednesday with a time of 1:54.50.

That time would have won gold at the world championships in June by nearly half a second, beating out China’s Yang Junxuan, who won the title in 1:54.92. Ledecky passed on the event at worlds, in part because the semifinal heats took place on the same night as the 1,500 freestyle final, NBC Sports reported.

At the U.S. championships in Irvine, California, Ledecky beat the next closest competitor by 1.64 seconds. Erin Gemmell, 17, took silver in 1:56.14, making her the ninth-fastest American woman in history, and Claire Tuggle took third in a time of 1:58.34.

For Ledecky, the swim came one day after she opened the meet with a staggering win in the 800 freestyle. With her time of 8:12.03, she won gold by 19.89 seconds over second-place finisher Kensey McMahon. Ledecky now owns the 29 fastest times in history.

“I’m happy with that,” said Ledecky, whose time Tuesday sits at No. 19 on the all-time list. “I didn’t really have any expectations coming into this.”


The time was faster than the time she swam to win gold in Tokyo last summer at the Olympics, but not quite as fast as the 8:08.04 she scored at the world championships earlier this summer. With that time, she won her fifth consecutive world title in the event – becoming the first swimmer to do so. She also set a women’s record for the most career worlds medals with 21.

In all, this summer has been faster than the last for Ledecky, who moved her training base to Florida in September.

Her domination comes mere days after the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris announced its swimming event lineup, with some reshuffling that could mean more Ledecky swims.

The 200-meter freestyle was moved to Day 3, avoiding a conflict with the 1,500 on Day 4. Ledecky won the 1,500 in Tokyo but missed the podium in the shorter event.

For now, Ledecky will keep her sights on U.S. nationals, with the 100 freestyle and 400 individual medley still to swim.