Tokyo: Australia's Ariarne Titmus and Japan's Yui Ohashi won their second gold medals in Tokyo while Britain picked up their third swimming gold with an impressive victory in the men's 4x200m freestyle relay on a thrilling day of action in the pool on Wednesday.
After losing to Titmus for a second time in Tokyo with a disappointing fifth-place finish in the 200 freestyle, there was some consolation for Katie Ledecky with the American winning the inaugural 1,500 freestyle gold to capture her sixth Olympic title.
World record holder Kristof Milak of Hungary powered to the men's butterfly 200m gold, despite being forced into a last-minute change of swimming trunks.
The women's 200 freestyle, part two of Titmus's 'duel in the pool' with Ledecky, turned instead into a battle with Hong Kong's Siobhan Haughey with Canada's Penny Oleksiak third.
Titmus won in a time of 1:53.50 while Ledecky, the defending gold medallist, finished a distant 1.71 behind the Australian.
"I’m bloody exhausted," said Titmus. "That was a tough race. I knew Siobhan would be hard to beat. I could tell from the way she swam (in her heat) yesterday it would be tough to beat her,"
Once again the 20-year-old Titmus, dubbed 'The Terminator', delivered a blistering final lap -- she had been in third place at the 150m turn with Haughey in the lead.
Titmus had beaten Ledecky to gold in the 400m freestyle on Monday and she becomes the first Australian woman to complete the 200-400 Olympic double since Shane Gould at the 1972 Munich Games.
Ledecky made sure she will not leave Japan empty handed however with her comfortable victory in the 1,500 freestyle, with team mate Erica Sullivan picking up silver and German Sarah Kohler bronze.
"I’m so happy. It was a little
one-two, which is very cool," she said. "You couldn’t
have a better outcome than that ... after the 200 I knew I had to
turn the page pretty quick."
As for her disappointment in the showdown with Titmus, Ledecky was philosophical.
"Maybe people feel bad for me not winning everything. But I want people to be more concerned about other things going on in the world," she said.
Titmus and Ledecky are expected to face each other in the 800m freestyle on Saturday in which the American is heavily favoured, and they will also be on opposite sides in the 4x200m relay.