Ariarne Titmus’ Grand Final has arrived.
Only the 400m freestyle is left – Titmus’ favourite event – which she’s expected to win easily after breaking the world record at the Australian trials in May.
Except for one small thing. ‘Arnie’s’ going up against the pint-sized Canadian teenager that has taken the sport by storm and been tipped to be swimming’s next global superstar.
Just 15, Summer McIntosh has been doing things that no-one her age has done before — winning two titles at the recent world championships and two more at the Commonwealth Games.
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Titmus should have the edge over her in the 400m but the Canadian is closing in quickly.
While the Australian’s world record (3:56.40) is almost exactly three seconds faster than McIntosh’s best (3:59.39), which she set in finishing second to Ledecky at the recent world championships, the Canadian looks to have more improvement.
Just the fourth female swimmer to break the magical four-minute barrier, she’s 10 second faster than what Titmus was at the same age and five seconds quicker than Ledecky.
A rare talent with so many events to choose from – she’s also world class at 200m freestyle, 200m butterfly, 200m individual medley and 400m individual medley – her clash with Titmus looks like being a sneak preview of their looming showdown at Paris Olympics in 2024.
“She is a fierce competitor. It’s good to have people keeping you on your toes but I have done nothing different because there’s Summer in the race,” Titmus said.
“I prepare myself so that I believe that I can beat everyone I am up against and it doesn’t matter that there’s another person under four minutes so I just prepare myself the best.”
Titmus has already beaten McIntosh once – and easily – by almost six seconds in Tokyo when she was preoccupied fighting off Ledecky for the gold but the Canadian has gone forward in leaps and bounds since.
Day six promises to be a bumper day for swimming but the Titmus-McIntosh battle will be one of the headline acts.
Can McIntosh continue Mollie O’Callaghan’s teen takeover after the young Aussie stunned Emma McKeon and Shayna Jack in the 100m freestyle?
BRITISH HERO’S COMM GAMES VERDICT RAISES EYEBROWS
English swimming goliath Adam Peaty has apologised over an “arrogant” interview that followed his incredible collapse in the 100m breaststroke at the Commonwealth Games on Monday.
Peaty’s defeat in the event he has owned for 10 years left Aussie legend Ian Thorpe staggered. It was a result almost nobody saw coming.
The world record holder had been undefeated in the 100m breaststroke at major meets since 2014. He had qualified fastest for the final and led the event with 25m to go.
However, English teammate James Wilby pushed ahead of him to take the gold.
The magnitude of the boilover was written all over Wilby’s stunned face as he looked up to the big screen to see that he had won.
With Aussies Zac Stubblety-Cook and Sam Williamson exploding at the death, Peaty suddenly went from the gold medal position to missing out on the podium completely.
It has been an explosive fallout to the result, with the 27-year-old declaring he won’t be coming back to the Commonwealth Games in four years.
It followed a social media backlash over comments that have been branded “arrogant” by fans.
Peaty spoke to the BBC on the pooldeck after finishing outside the medals and said losing in the Commonwealth Games meant little to him after already scooping up three Olympic gold medals.
“It doesn’t feel amazing, but it doesn’t feel bad either,” Peaty said.
“It’ll probably be my last attempt tomorrow, but I’m not bothered about it. The Commonwealths to me, in the grand scheme of things … it’s about two years time (the Olympics).
“That’s no disrespect. I’m still four weeks into my program, I can’t put that expectation on myself.”
Retired English swimmer Mark Foster responded to Peaty’s comments, saying: “I think he’s trying to say it doesn’t matter, but it does matter.
“It’s the Commonwealth Games, it’s a multi-sport event and I think when he was growing up, the Commonwealth Games would have been a big deal.
“But the fact that he’s won lots of Worlds and Olympic Games, maybe he’s trying to play it down to himself that it doesn’t matter.”
The Birmingham Mail reported fans on social media said Peaty’s comments were “arrogant” and “disrespectful”.
“Adam Peaty is disrespectful to every other athlete at the Commonwealth Games. Acting like he doesn’t care. While all the other athletes are trying their best to win medals,” one Twitter user wrote.
Another posted: “Adam Peaty, I think you need to take a deep breath, have a word with yourself and take a look at the para swimmers. Used to really respect you and what you were trying to achieve, but feel let down by tonight’s comments.”
World record-holder Peaty qualified second-fastest for the 50m breaststroke final, scheduled for Wednesday morning, behind Australia’s Sam Williamson.
After moving through to the final, which he subsequently won, Peaty appeared to apologise for his comments.
He wrote on Twitter: “Thankful for all the supportful messages I’m getting at the moment. It has been an incredibly hard time the past few months, but mostly the last few days.
“Sometimes in the heat of the moment my emotions better me and I can’t speak with a clear mind.”
SHOCK SCENES AS RUNNER COLLAPSES DURING 100M
Sprint star Ayanda Malaza suffered a heartbreaking injury during his bid for glory at the Commonwealth Games.
The 19-year-old broke down in tears as he was removed from the track in a wheelchair after pulling up in his 100m heat on Tuesday.
Malaza, from Eswatini, looked to be in discomfort as he set off from the blocks.
The race had already suffered a false start when Nigeria’s Godson Oke Oghenebrume began too early.
And Malaza unfortunately tweaked something the second time around.
He collapsed to the ground as his rivals continued their surge towards the finish line.
Malaza could be seen clutching his hamstring as he waved his arm for attention.
And medics quickly rushed to the scene as Malaza began crying.
There was no chance of the star being able to walk off the track.
And so a wheelchair was brought out to transport Malaza away for further treatment.
It’s not the first unfortunate incident to befall this year’s Games.
Cyclist Matt Walls escaped serious injury after crashing into the crowd at the London velodrome on Sunday.
And the women’s 10km Scratch Race saw a rider fall from her bike before being run over by an opponent.
Originally published as Commonwealth Games Day 6: Latest news, results and medal tally from Birmingham