Swim star Ariarne Titmus reveals food poisoning setback before world titles

Tasmanian teenager Ariarne Titmus has revealed her world championship swimming success came off the back of a bout of food poisoning.

The 16-year-old represented Australia at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Budapest last week, winning a bronze medal with the 4 x 200m freestyle relay team.

Her performance in Budapest also ranked her fourth in the world for the 400 metres freestyle, behind record holder Katie Ledecky.

Titmus said she contracted food poisoning just days before her world championship debut, which heightened pre-race nerves.

“I didn’t really know how I was going to race because a week out from the competition I got food poisoning and I was actually vomiting the weekend before racing started,” she told ABC Hobart.

“But I was positioned next to Katie Ledecky, which was really exciting.

“If someone told me a year ago I’d be ranked fourth in the world right now, I’d probably laugh, so it was really exciting.”

Ariarne Titmus swims in the 400m freestyle
PHOTO: Titmus placed 4th behind world record holder Katie Ledecky in the 400m freestyle in Budapest. (Supplied: Australian Dolphins Swim Team)

Despite her 400-metre result, Titmus cited her relay performance when she reeled in a Russian competitor as the highlight.

“I definitely felt really fast, I was mowing her down and it was a really really good swim,” she said.

“It was so cool to be standing up on the dais, because the dais was looking over the whole stadium you can see everything. It was really amazing, unlike any other medal ceremony I’ve ever had before.”

Titmus described the team culture as “amazing”, saying “everyone gets along so well”, but transitioning from a team to individuals proved strange.

“It’s a pretty stressful environment once the racing starts because everyone wants to perform,” she said.

“When you’re in the camp you do everything as a team, but once you start racing everything’s more individual, like you catch the bus to the pool by yourself, not as a group.

“So that’s the dynamic change between the camp and when racing begins.”

Sights set on Commonwealth Games

Ariarne Titmus shows off her gold medals haul
PHOTO: After the medals started to flow Titmus’s family moved from Launceston to Brisbane to support her career. (ABC News: Lauren Waldhuter)

Titmus is on a short break before setting her sights on qualifying for next year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

“It would be amazing to represent Australia in front of a home crowd and that’s definitely a big goal for me, to be able to get there and race,” she said.

Asked what advice she would give to aspiring Tasmanian swimmers, Titmus said “work hard”.

“I would say that nothing comes easy and if you want to get somewhere, you have to work for it,” she said.

“Talent will get you somewhere but hard work will always beat talent in the end.”

Titmus family hold Australian flagPHOTO: Titmus was supported by her family at the Budapest world championships. (Supplied: Australian Dolphins Swim Team)

Thumbnail photo credit: AP: Petr David Josek

This article was written as part of my job at the ABC. It was published on Tuesday 1st August 2017 and can be found here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-01/ariarne-titmus-ready-to-hit-training-pool-after-world-titles/8762386 

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