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Ariarne Titmus, Emma McKeon among Australia swim stars to miss world champs

Ariarne Titmus, Katie Ledecky

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 26: Ariarne Titmus of Australia reacts after winning the gold medal in the Women’s 400m Freestyle Final with silver medalist Katie Ledecky of the United States during the Swimming Finals at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games on July 26, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Corbis via Getty Images

Australian stars Ariarne Titmus, Emma McKeon and Kyle Chalmers are skipping this year’s world swimming championships.

Swimming Australia confirmed Friday that the three individual Olympic gold medalists, plus relay gold medalist Cate Campbell, will not compete at worlds in Budapest in June.

Titmus, McKeon and Chalmers are focused on Commonwealths in Birmingham, Great Britain, in July and August, according to News Corp on Friday.

This is the first year since 1998 that a world championships will be held in the same year as a Commonwealth Games, which forces Aussies to either peak for two major international meets in a seven-week span or choose one over the other.

Though Aussies have traditionally had two major international meets in an even, non-Olympic year. Usually the Pan Pacific Championships, a meet for non-European nations, is also held but will not be this year with the pandemic altering schedules over the last two years.

Australians had extra incentive to do Pan Pacs when they were held in Australia in 2014 and at the Olympic host city of Tokyo in 2018.

This likely means that Titmus will not race against American rival Katie Ledecky until the 2023 World Championships. They last met at the Tokyo Games, where Titmus won the 400m and 200m freestyles and Ledecky won the 800m free, plus the 1500m free without Titmus in that field.

Also in Tokyo, McKeon became the second woman to win seven medals in any sport at a single Games, a haul that included 50m and 100m free golds.

Chalmers won the men’s Olympic 100m free in 2016, then took silver behind Caeleb Dressel in the prized event last year.

Campbell’s agent said that she will not swim at worlds or Commonwealths but plans to return in 2023.

Three Australian swimmers who won individual medals in Tokyo are still considering bidding for worlds, according to News Corp: Kaylee McKeown, who swept the women’s backstroke golds, plus men’s 200m breaststroke gold medalist Zac Stubblety-Cook and 400m individual medley bronze medalist Brendon Smith.

The U.S. team for worlds will be determined at trials in two weeks in Greensboro, N.C.

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