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After undergoing ovarian surgery, Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus says she’s ‘playing catch-up’ ahead of Paris 2024

By Ben Church, CNN

(CNN) — Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus has spoken about her recovery from ovarian surgery and its impact on the defense of her Olympic titles at Paris 2024.

The two-time Olympic champion underwent successful surgery to remove two benign tumours from her right ovary in September, after doctors discovered the issue by chance following an MRI scan on an injured-hip.

She returned to action for the first time since July on Sunday, per Reuters, finishing second in the 200m freestyle final at the Queensland state championships.

“I’m really playing catch-up at the moment, trying to put in as much work as I can, so I’m pretty buggered racing here,” Titmus told reporters after Sunday’s race.

Titmus had announced her medical issues in an Instagram post in September, saying she had been “petrified” that the procedure could impact her ability to one day have children.

The 23-year-old has since said the decision to reveal her diagnosis was triggered over fears the news would eventually leak into the public domain.

“To have people around you asking for photos in the hospital, it is quite confronting,” said Titmus.

“I’ve had so many women message me and say that I had the same thing and I lost my ovary and still had babies.

“That gave me confidence starting these conversations. I have to use my platform, not just as a swimmer,” added Titmus.

Titmus said she will forever be “grateful” that doctors picked up on the issue when they did, describing it as the “perfect time” to undergo the surgery.

If they had found the tumours any later, her entire Olympics “would have completely derailed,” she said.

She now has until July next year to get herself in competitive form, as she bids to defend her 200m and 400m freestyle titles.

The Australian, who holds the 400m freestyle world record, will face tough competition from the likes of seven-time Olympic champion Katie Ledecky.

“I probably think I’m actually in a better position now than what I thought I would be,” Titmus said.

“Post-op, we were quite conservative with my recovery, we just didn’t want anything to go wrong.

“I definitely have time, but I don’t have time to waste.”

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