Ariarne Titmus is a swimming star on the hunt.
And for once, it's not after her rivals.
The double Olympic gold champion, who set herself apart in the lanes at Tokyo 2020, has revealed that driving her return to the water after nearly two months off is a desire to find an edge that will see her successfully fend off her competitors at Paris 2024.
Speaking in conversation with the The Examiner Titmus shared: “I have to find new ways to get better.”
“I need to be more creative with Dean and come up with new ways to scrape a little bit more time off and I’m looking forward to that.”
Ariarne Titmus: rewriting the script at Tokyo 2020
The pressure the Australian feels to keep hold of her Olympic titles comes after her rip-roaring outing in Japan.
The 21-year-old sensation had an Olympic debut the stuff of dreams are made of.
The Tasmanian then peppered her extraordinary achievements with a silver and bronze in the 800m freestyle and 4x200m relay respectively.
And when she wasn’t capturing the imaginations of a nation with her prowess in the pool her coach Dean Boxall was doing the honours, revelling in her victories and going viral in the process.
Nearly two months after the astronomical heights of Tokyo, Titmus has shared she is back with both feet on the ground and ready to begin training.
Continuing in her interview Titmus laid out her intentions:
“The plan is to get back into training at the start of October, get the body moving again.”
“It will have been two months since I’ve swum so it’ll take a while to get myself back.”
Preparing to peak for Paris 2024
Given the extent of her successes, and the notoriety that has come with it, Titmus’ return to swimming involves more than just a dusting of the proverbial cobwebs.
It also marks an opportunity for the Australian to chart her course for the next three years.
For the four-time Olympic medallist that means not only interrogating the margins and finding where there is space for her to improve but also deciding what will be her focus:
“I want to be at a good level next year but I’m not expecting anything like Tokyo.”
“The following year I think we have world championships again. I want to be good for those events but I want to be able to peak for Paris.”
“I still believe that I’ve got more in myself. I’m still young and I want to keep swimming for longer.”
Keeping up with Katie Ledecky
It is of little surprise that the Olympics are at the forefront of the Australian’s mind.
Her 400m freestyle duel with Ledecky was one for the ages; it unfolded to be one of the most dramatic clashes at the Games.
Titmus demonstrated the rationale behind her moniker, ‘the Terminator’, as she hunted down the American before overtaking her at the 150m mark.
Once in front, she never looked back.
Repeating that feat on the Olympic stage for a second time in Paris, in the same emphatic style it was first achieved, will take some doing.
Especially with the news that seven-time Olympic gold medallist Ledecky has moved from her previous training base at Stanford to the University of Florida to, herself, focus on Paris preparations.
With her closest competitor upping the ante, Titmus has even more motivation to scrutinise her own game plan.
As she takes the plunge once again, everything is to play for.