Women’s 200m Freestyle Prediction and Preview
The event everyone in the swimming world has been waiting for is finally here; Katie Ledecky, U.S. swimming prodigy, will face Ariarne Titmus of Australia at the Olympics. The two are well acquainted after Titmus upset three-time world champion Ledecky in the 400 free to take the gold at the 2019 World Championships.
The two are the stars of the pool, with Ledecky earning her first gold medal at 15 and taking four more along with a silver in Rio. Titmus holds a gold, silver, and bronze from the 2019 World Championships, but is seeking her first Olympic medal in Tokyo.
In the 400m qualifiers, Ledecky came away with the fastest time at 4:00.45. Titmus was not far behind in her heat, coming in just a second slower than Ledecky to place third.
In a preview of her performance at the Olympics, Titmus swam the second-fastest time ever in the women’s 200m freestyle last month. At the Australian Olympic trials, Titmus finished with a time of 1:53.09, only 0.11 seconds behind the world record set by Federica Pellegrini in 2009.
Ledecky owned the freestyle Olympic qualification competitions for the United States, finishing with the quickest time in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle competitions. In the 200m, Ledecky’s time was slightly slower than that of Titmus’ qualifying time at 1:55.11.
Other contenders for the gold are Pellegrini with Italy and Yang Junxuan with China. As previously stated, Pellegrini holds the world record for the fastest time in the women’s 200m free. Despite this, she is not favored to win gold and her odds come in third at +750. This will be Pellegrini’s fifth Olympic appearance; the Italian holds a gold and silver medal.
Junxuan is farther behind with a +850 and sitting at the number four spot in terms of gold favorites in the 200m freestyle. Junxuan broke the Asian record for the 200 free back in May with an impressive time of 1:54.57 at the 2021 Chinese Nationals. This will be Junxuans first Olympic games and she is expected to perform very well.
Siobhan Haughey is also in the conversation. The Hong Kong athlete competes in the International Swimming League and has not lost any 200 free races in two years. Haughey competed in Rio in 2016 but did not medal. This could be her year to make the podium.
The Gold Medal Duel
It truly comes down to Titmus and Ledecky; one of these two dedicated athletes will come away with the gold medal in the 200m freestyle. Titmus is currently favored to win the event at -230 and Ledecky is second with +300.
Both of these women have the ability to snatch the gold medal for their country; however, it seems like it is Titmus’ year. Titmus came close to tying Pellegrini’s world record in the event and had a faster time than Ledecky in her respective countries qualification competition.
Ledecky is the reigning champion in the event, as she won gold in the 200m free in Rio as part of her 5-medal year. Although this will be Titmus’ first Olympics, she has faced Ledecky before and has plenty of championship experience in the pool.
Both of them will win at least one gold medal in Tokyo. They are competing against one another in the 200, 400, and 800 freestyle and the 4×200 freestyle relay. In the 200m event, Ledecky has a chance to defend her gold medal and Titmus can earn her first. This is a can’t-miss event as these two bring the heat to the pool.
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