MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian Ariarne Titmus says Katie Ledecky is "100% still favorite" to win the 400-meter freestyle gold at the Tokyo Olympics, despite being the American world record holder in Gwangju last year annoyed.
The teenager finished Ledecky's six-year unbeaten run at World Championships with a swim of three minutes and 58.76 seconds in the 400 final, a full second faster than the American.
While Titmus is thrilled by the unexpected triumph, she still feels that she is "chasing" Ledecky, who holds the Olympic titles in the 200, 400 and 800 meter freestyle.
"Your world record (3: 56.46) is still two seconds above my personal best," said Titmus in comments released by News Ltd media on Tuesday.
"I'm just glad I swam great in worlds and it didn't swim.
"She's still a 100% favorite."
Titmus, 19, said the pace of her development as a swimmer was a surprise and she never thought she would surpass Ledecky in South Korea.
"I didn't think it would come so soon, but based on how I swam, I knew this was the time when I had a real race with her and not just running for silver.
"I knew it was going to be a battle, but I didn't know it would mean actually beating Ledecky."
The Tasmanian will also strive for a medal in 200 and 800 freestyle in Tokyo.
She won world silver behind Italian Federico Pellegrini in 200 and bronze in 800 behind Ledecky and Italian runner-up Simona Quadarella.
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