SYDNEY (AFP) – Swimming superpowers Australia and the United States will meet in August in a new “pool duel” as superstars Ariarn Titmus and Katie Ledecky resume their Olympic rivalries, it was announced Wednesday.
For the event, which is more of a show than a competition, each country will have a team of 30 swimmers who will meet in Sydney from August 19-21, thus resuming a successful event organized as recently as 2007.
Each country’s team will feature Olympic and Paralympic champions and free-water swimmers, with a marine race taking place at Bondi Beach, on the outskirts of Sydney.
Australia and the United States dominated swimming at the Tokyo Olympics last year, claiming a total of 50 Olympic medals.
“Look, Australia and the United States are vying for points and pride at Duel Pool 2022+,” Swimming Australia, the Australian Swimming Federation, tweeted.
For 2007, new race and relay formats may be included for this televised event, designed to attract a new audience to the sport.
But the biggest draw will likely be the showdown between Australia’s Titmus and Ledecky, who each won two golds in Tokyo.
Ledecky, 25, was forced to win the silver behind 21-year-old Titmus in the 400-meter freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics, but avenged her by winning the 800-meter race ahead of the Australian.
Titmus also won gold in the 200 metres, with Ledecky finishing a disappointing fifth, but the American claimed his second Olympic individual title in Japan in the 1,500 metres.
Australians Kyle Chalmers and Emma McKeown, as well as Americans Caleb Dressel and Reagan Smith, could also be among the big names in Sydney.
The first “pool fencing” was held in 2003 in Indianapolis after the Olympic Games in Sydney.
The Americans have won the previous three championships (2003, 2005 and 2007).
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