City of Launceston honours its Olympic champion

Published on 10 September 2021


The City of Launceston will bestow its highest honour upon dual Olympic gold medallist Ariarne Titmus at a ceremony on Friday.

Titmus, who won four medals in the pool at the recent Tokyo Olympics, will be presented with the Key to the City by Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten in Civic Square from 12pm.

Councillors unanimously supported a motion by Deputy Mayor Danny Gibson to present the City's highest honour to Titmus, along with renaming the 50m competition pool at the Launceston Leisure and Aquatic Centre.

The Council will also establish an annual Ariarne Titmus Swimming Scholarship at the Aquatic Centre for up-and-coming young swimmers.

Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said it will be a privilege to present the 21-year-old world champion with the Key to the City.

"I don't think there's any doubt that Ariarne is an incredible role model for all aspiring young Tasmanian athletes. She's not only an incredible swimmer, but a genuinely humble champion that all young people can look up to and admire," Mayor van Zetten said.

Titmus, who celebrated her 21st birthday earlier this month, will be the first woman and the youngest person to be presented with the Key to the City by Launceston.

Only five people have ever been bestowed the same honour - former Test captain Ricky Ponting, boxer Daniel Geale, cyclist Richie Porte, composer Peter Sculthorpe and round-the-world yachtsman, Ken Gourlay.

Born and bred in Launceston, Titmus moved with her family to Brisbane in 2015 when she was just 14 to further her dreams of representing Australia at the highest level.

Titmus became Tasmania's first individual Olympic champion in Tokyo, winning gold in both 200m and 400m freestyle finals, a silver in the 800m and bronze in the 4x200m relay.

The current world champion is currently on a two-month break from competition, and will spend the week in Launceston with family and friends, which included hosting a Swimming Australia junior excellence clinic on Tuesday at the Launceston Aquatic Centre for up-and-coming swimmers.

Titmus said she was both surprised and honoured to be receiving the Key to the City.

"I was somewhat shocked and pleasantly surprised when I read reports in the news about receiving (the Key to the City) and I am genuinely honoured to be recognised in this way," Titmus said.

"To be the youngest person ever - and the first female to receive this award - is truly an honour and I'm certainly excited and genuinely thankful for all the support and recognition I've received since returning from Tokyo.

"And to have the pool named in my honour is simply wonderful.

"I spent so much time at the aquatic centre - in that very pool. I swam a lot of sessions there from a very young age, and it was where I really started to make my first break-through as a competitive swimmer.

"I hope that it can act as an inspiration to other young up-and-coming swimmers, who like me dared to dream because as we know, sometimes dreams really do come true."

More than 50 students from St Patrick's College in Launceston, along with 60 students from Sacred Heart, will form a guard of honour for Titmus as part of Friday's ceremony.

They will be joined by almost 20 members of the St Pat's Drumline group, who will perform at the event.

Local sporting commentator Rick Fontyn will MC the ceremony.

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