Swim star Titmus says surgery gifted her perspective

Steve Larkin |

A relaxed Ariarne Titmus will swim at the Australian selection trials for the Paris Olympics.
A relaxed Ariarne Titmus will swim at the Australian selection trials for the Paris Olympics.

Ariarne Titmus says surgery to remove a benign tumour on an ovary has gifted her fresh perspective on her golden swim career.

Titmus on Monday will swim her first races at the Australian selection trials for the Paris Olympics starting in late July.

And the Olympic 200m and 400m freestyle champion says she’ll compete at the Brisbane trials with a fresh outlook prompted by her surgery.

“My health scare … that was probably the best thing that could have happened to me, to be honest,” Titmus told reporters on Sunday.

“It put a lot of things into perspective – more so, swimming is just swimming.

“But also, I am only young once and I really have to make the most of this moment in my life and the chance that I have to race at an Olympic Games.

“Not only just to be an Olympian but fighting for medals and gold medals is very rare, so I just want to take every opportunity I can and enjoy the moment.”

The 23-year-old said she was now more relaxed about her lofty status in the sport.

“When I was younger I was always just looking to the next thing, to the next thing, to the next thing,” Titmus said.

“But as I am getting older I am really going to try to sink in to the moment and really enjoy them more.

“Olympic trials is like nothing else and a lot of people get nervous for it of course – you have got your one chance to get on the team.

“But I am excited to get out there and race and have some fun and really think about why I started swimming – it’s because I just love the water and I just love swimming.

“You have to remind yourself of that when you’re racing.”

On Monday’s opening day of the seven-day trials, Titmus will contest the 400m freestyle – an event she won at the Tokyo Olympics of 2021 and for which she holds the world record.

But rather than be burdened by defending her Olympic title in Paris, Titmus feels unfettered and will race with words from her coach Dean Boxall front of mind.

“Dean said to me after Tokyo I basically achieved everything I wanted to achieve in the sport,” she said.

“And he said going into these Games you’re free like a bird – if it doesn’t happen again, you have still done it, you’re forever an Olympic champion.

“I feel like that ‘monkey off your back’-type scenario can help you.

“We know what it takes to win at an Olympic Games and that is an advantage.

“You can look into the pressure that the media and the public put on you … you can look at anything in a negative light or a positive light.

“And if you use the pressure as a positive source, you can turn it into a great ball of energy and make you swim even faster.”