Aussie teen 'Terminator' Titmus sets swimming world record

SHANGHAI — Australian teenager Ariarne Titmus broke the women's short-course 400m freestyle record on Friday to grab her second gold medal at the World Swimming Championships in China.

In a battle of the talented teenagers, the 18-year-old — dubbed the "Terminator" — blasted away the twin challenge of home hopes Wang Jianjiahe and Li Bingjie in Hangzhou.

Titmus claimed a dominant victory in 3mins 53.92secs, narrowly bettering the 3:53.97 clocked in October by rival Wang, who is just 16. Wang, an easy winner in the 800m freestyle on Thursday, was forced into silver, 0.64secs behind Titmus, with Li a distant 4.07secs off.

Titmus also claimed gold on Tuesday, the first day of competition, in the 200m freestyle in an Australian and Oceania record time of 1:51.38. It has been a breakthrough year for the young Australian, who won three golds at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games earlier in 2018.

She only turned 18 in September and has already earned the nickname "Terminator" — her Dad calls her "Arnie" and that became Terminator in Australian media after the Arnold Schwarzenegger character.

There was a surprise in the men's 50m freestyle when Caeleb Dressel of the United States, who has been likened to US swimming legend Michael Phelps, was beaten into silver by Russia's Vladimir Morozov.

The 26-year-old Morozov put the new golden boy of US swimming into the shadows, touching the wall in 20.33secs, 0.21 ahead of Dressel.

Despite that disappointment, the United States have dominated in Hangzhou and, with Dressel on the first leg, broke the world record in the men's 4x50m freestyle with a time of 1:21.80. That was the Americans' 10th gold.

China's triple Olympic champion Sun Yang is not competing in individual events in Hangzhou, but was in the hosts' 4x200m freestyle team.

The 27-year-old was given the biggest cheer of the night and China briefly led the race with him on the third leg, before falling back into bronze. Brazil took gold.

Top swimmers challenging

FINA to gather at London summit

Some of the world's top swimmers will gather at a brainstorming summit in London next week hosted by the International Swimming League (ISL), which is looking to challenge world governing body FINA's control over international competitions.

ISL, who will host the two-day event from Dec. 18-19, are proposing to organize events outside the control of FINA and pay higher prize money than the governing body. ISL said the aim of the event is to provide athletes with "the tools to build a brighter future for their sport", starting with the creation of a global Swimmers' Association.

Led by Ukrainian energy tycoon Konstantin Grigorishin, ISL is in a dispute with FINA after an ISL event that was set to be held in Turin this month was canceled.

The Italian federation FIN said FINA declared the event as "non-approved" and threatened sanctions against the participating athletes. The governing body had said in November that the Turin meeting did not meet its rules requirements.

Earlier this month, three-times Olympic gold medalist Katinka Hosszu and world champions Tom Shields and Michael Andrew also filed a lawsuit against FINA for "anti-competitive" conduct. FINA said it would "mount a robust defense".

The athletes attending the ISL summit at Stamford Bridge, the home of Premier League football club Chelsea, boast 15 Olympic titles between them and more than double that number of world titles.

They include 30 current swimmers and retired former champions Lenny Krayzelburg, Jason Lezak, Mark Foster and Peter Mankoc.

FINA approved on Thursday an invitation-only event — the FINA Champions Swim Series -- which will make its debut next year and could be seen as a response to the challenge posed by the ISL.

The series, a three-leg competition between March and May, will offer a total of $3.9 million in prize money, making it the most lucrative swimming event in FINA history.

"In its constant effort for innovation and providing new opportunities for the stars of our sport, FINA is very pleased to launch this new competition," FINA president Julio Maglione said in a statement.

"By creating this additional elite competition, FINA will generate a true swimming show, where sport presentation and stars' promotion are key concepts for a successful meet."

Athletes will be invited on the basis of being the world champion, Olympic champion, world record holder, or the best in world ranking in each event. These swimmers will also receive appearance fees, along with all the travel and accommodation costs. — Agencies