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2022 News Slider Swimming

Nicolò Martinenghi Maintains Europe’s Reign In 100m Breaststroke

Martinenghi

Italy’s Nicolò Martinenghi sat on the throne occupied by Adam Peaty since 2015 – the British lion vacated it due to his foot injury, which prevented him from claiming a fourth straight breaststroke double at the Worlds. Dutchman Arno Kamminga came second in the 100m – and another silver was landed by Marie Wattel of France in the 100m fly. Twins ruled the duet technical final in artistic swimming, Ukraine and Austria got the minor spoils in that event.

Nicolò Martinenghi and Arno Kamminga managed to break the US wave of golds on Day 2 at the FINA World Championships – three of the four titles on offer in swimming went to the Americans (women’s 100m fly and 200m IM, men’s 50m fly), but Europe’s top breaststroke aces delivered once more. At least those two who remained on board since the king Adam Peaty had bowed out because of his foot injury.

The grand trio of Peaty, Kamminga and Martinenghi produced the only European clean sweep of medals in one event at the Olympics, in the 100m breast – now many thought that the Dutchman’s time came to claim his first gold. Instead, Martinenghi, the bronze medallist in Tokyo, outsmarted his rival and with a brilliant homecoming leg he gained 0.36sec on Kamminga, who out-touched USA’s Nic Fink, who led at 50m, for the silver by 0.03sec.

With Peaty away, the Italian managed to pip Kamminga for the title for the second time after he had come first at the short-course Europeans in Kazan last November.

Martinenghi
Photo: Simone Castrovillari/LEN

“That’s an amazing feeling, the first world final and right away the first word title, it’s pretty impressive, isn’t it?” said Martinenghi with a huge smile on his face. “I was confident before the final because I had qualified with the top time from the semis though the final was totally different. I’m very happy with the gold but of course it’s not the same feeling without having (Adam) Peaty here.”

Kamminga, who started his rise in late 2019, was consent with the outcome. “I’m very happy with this medal because this was my first final at World Championships and got my first medal right away. I know it will be close between me and other four guys who all had a chance to get on the podium. So I’m really happy.”

Marie Wattel came up with another medal-winning performance in a major 100m fly final held in the Duna Arena: a little more than a year after claiming gold at the Europeans here, now she stormed a brilliant second-place finish in the same event, behind USA’s Torri Huske. She turned fifth only to clock the best second 50m in the field.

“I’m really grateful for everyone around me. I’ve worked hard and really happy to be here. I was a bit scared, I just swam as I could and I’m delighted to win a medal here” Wattel said.

Europeans were closed out from the medals in the men’s 50m fly and in the women’s 200m IM – indeed, this was the first medley title since 2011 which did not go to Katinka Hosszu who had an amazing run of doubling down the IM events in four consecutive editions. Now the crowd offered her a loud cheer even for making the final at least and she earned the fans’ appreciation for finishing seventh. “I see my message came through for the people that my goals are totally different this time. I’m aiming to be on the podium once here but the 200m IM offered the smallest chance, to be honest” the 9-time world champion said.

There was history in the making in the artistic swimming competition as – and this has happened perhaps for the first time in the entire history of any sport – the duet technical final’s podium saw three twins receiving the medals.

Ukraine
Photo: Simone Castrovillari/LEN

The Chinese siblings, Liuyi Wang and Qianyi Wang claimed the gold, Maryna Aleksiiva and Vladyslava Aleksiiva of Ukraine finished second and two of the Alexandri triplets, Anna-Maria and Eirini clinched a historical first-ever world medal for Austria.

“Despite we did not manage to win the gold medal, we are really satisfied with the silver as this was our first senior World Championships. We tried to do our best and today it was worth a silver medal. We would like to dedicate this result to our strong country, Ukraine” said the Aleksiivas.

The Austrians were over the Moon, for all the understandable reasons. “We are so relieved and empty, we can’t think of anything right now. We are so happy, and it is a dream that came true. We came here and knew it was going to be difficult. We never expected this, only dreamt about it.”

Photo: Simone Castrovillari/LEN