Home » Unseen ‘bad blood’ fuelling bitter swimming rivalry

Unseen ‘bad blood’ fuelling bitter swimming rivalry

Aussie swimming great James Magnussen believes there is “bad blood” between Ariarne Titmus and American Katie Ledecky, setting the stage for an explosive showdown in the 400m freestyle heats tonight.

Titmus and Ledecky will lodge another chapter in their rivalry when they vie for qualification for the 400m finals in Tokyo.

There’s been plenty of hype around the ensuing battle, with many Aussies backing Titmus as the gold medal favourite having got the better of Ledecky at the 2019 world championships.

Despite the conjecture, the pair have remained relatively amicable toward one another, refusing to be drawn into a war of words in the public eye.

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But Magnussen believes there’s more happening behind the scene than each party is letting on.

“No-one’s ever come out and said it, but I think there’s a bit of bad blood there,” Magnussen said on Fox Sports’ Tokyo Daily podcast.

“Ledecky refuses to speak about Titmus or acknowledge her in the media and when Titmus beat her in the 400m freestyle at the world championships Ledecky refused to congratulate her. She turned the other way and went out of the pool, ignoring her. I love that story.

“Ledecky is what we would call in cricket terms a ‘flat track bully’. She works really well when she comes out, dictates the pace, leads from start to finish and has it all her own way.

“When Ariarne leads her, or upsets her race plan, she really gets in her head and Ledecky does not like it.”

Titmus will be joined in the pool tonight by fellow Aussie world record holder Kaylee McKeown commencing her 100m backstroke campaign alongside veteran Emily Seebohm.

In the men’s, Mitch Larkin and Elijah Winnington will return to the pool, as will Australia’s sprinters who gear up for some thrilling action in the 4x100m freestyle heats.

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