World Swimming Championships, other medals for Italy

A gold and a silver: the Italian miracle (and although at this point speaking of a miracle in the circumstances is an understatement: blue swimming has been used to us for a few years, not well but very well, first in Europe and face to face with the Greats of the Earth) continues in the pool of Fukuoka, the second day of the World Cup in Japan.

Thomas Ceccon wins the gold in the 50m butterfly (or dolphin, if you prefer), Nicolò Martinenghi participates in the silver bottleneck that piles up the podium of the 100m breaststroke, three seconds together, our Tete, the Dutch Kamminga and the American Fink who touch the plate at the same time as the penny behind the Chinese Qin Haiyang. Which Chinese is repeated immediately afterwards in the 100m butterfly by Zhang Yufei and it is only in the last final of the day, the women’s 200m medley, that the first American gold comes.

The 29 unforgettable minutes

For Thomas, a 22-year-old from Thiene, near Vicenza, a great talent since childhood, walking through competitions and styles and podiums, today was a half hour that he and many others will never forget. Twenty-nine minutes to be exact, the time elapsed between the semi-final of the 100m backstroke, in which he holds the record and world champion, and the final of the 50m butterfly, which are one of his favorite “games” (but there is another one waiting: the 100m freestyle). His back had seen him distracted in the morning, “sparagnino” of energy: in the previous rounds he had done the fourteenth time, and not because he was “brigado” of the silver taken with his relay friends.

He knew those 29 minutes were waiting for him.

I was in lane 1, in the semi, so out of the way. But here he is waking up from the device, beautiful dive, beautiful passage that will eventually become the second fastest in the ranking with 25.27 (faster, in the other semi-final, 25.07, Xu Jiayu, another Chinese!), beautiful second tank with his very elegant progression and with the final time of 52.16 that will take him to the final tomorrow lane’4. “And I didn’t even stretch that much until the end, because I knew about the 50 to do,” he later confessed. That he would have done 50 with a time of 22.68 and with the silver to the Portuguese De Matos Ribeiro with 22.80, twelve cents which in the 50 meter races, flat and out of breath, are more than it seems. “I have to say – he will admit later, honestly – that I was more tired after 50 than after 100.”

Thomas good son

He will talk about the medal (“I like this one less than the Budapest one, which was bigger and weighed more”); he’ll talk about the 50-meter races (“I’m not saying he hates them, but he didn’t love them: but I wanted to win gold in this one, too”) as if it were one of those days off from the past, when military service was compulsory and every day that passed they put a cross on the calendar. Thomas, for the time being, has crossed the line at 50: “Neither I nor my coach likes us, and now I’ve already won them.” And then they are not even Olympic competition. “And these are things that if I don’t do at 22, I won’t be able to do them again at 30.”

He will mainly talk about home: “I immediately received a call from my mother; he told me he started crying in front of the TV; and when he told me I would have cried too.” He’s not the scruffy mustache with the “tired bandellero” air he appears: giant Thomas has a soft heart. And tomorrow with the back? “I’ll think about it tomorrow, tonight I’m enjoying it; I would just like to do my career, quiet exit and progression». But tomorrow really is another day. “But if I do my career I can take it home.” Before the world championship he had said: “I’m here to get two individual gold medals”. The first one is taken.

Martinenghi at one o’clock

“I can say it now: in the semi-final I had swam just to be in lane number 1: I wanted to swim there and see what happened”, says Martinenghi. He happened to complete the 100 breaststroke in 58.72, exactly like Kamminga and Fink, his all-time opponents. He swam, probably out of shape, with the character of the Martinenghi we know and achieved his goal. China’s newbie Qin Haiyang had to produce the second best performance in world history, 57.69, bettered only by Peaty the Martian, to take the gold. “But mine too, given the conditions I’m in and how the season has gone, it seems golden to me”, he says, after showing complicity on that podium with the folding seats, especially with Kamminga.

In three silver medals had already happened in Rio 2016 and Phelps, Cseh and LeClos made the pile, three monsters hit the second step of Schooling, the young Singaporean who went with a photo with Phelps in his wallet. “The Chinese will be the man to win next year, but what I’ve done here is incredible, I’m very happy,” he concluded.

Popovici and the others

The best time in the men’s 200m freestyle was 1:44.70 by hot young Romanian Popovici, who is expected to soon become the man to cancel Biedermann and his record-setting outfit in 2009 in Rome. The other blues did not give their best although they gave their best. Margherita Panziera in the 100m swimming, Martina Carraro and Lisa Angiolini in the 100m breaststroke and Marco De Tullio in the 200m freestyle entered the semi-finals. But the semifinals were the cornet of his dreams.

Source : IL Messaggero

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