Italian men set new World record at Melbourne 2022

The Italian team collect a cheque for $25,000 USD after their world record swim – image from FINA.

The Italian men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team claimed gold and set a stunning new world record on the opening night of competition at the FINA World Swimming (25m) Championships in Melbourne, Australia.

Alessandro Minisini had given the Italian’s an early lead which Paolo Conte Bonin and Leonardo Deplano maintained ahead of rivals from the USA and Australia in the second and third legs.

Thomas Ceccon, who set a 100m backstroke long course world record in Budapest 2022, took over for the final freestyle leg and subsequently not only extended his nation’s advantage but powered them to a new landmark time of three minutes and 2.75 seconds.

“Earlier today I had the 50m butterfly and didn’t swim so well, but tonight I had the relay with these three amazing people,” Ceccon told FINA after the final.

“We think about the world record and we did it, it’s my second world record, so I’m super happy for this.”

Earlier in the evening fellow Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri added another title to his incredible honours list with 1500m freestyle victory.

The Italian, who won the event at the Rio 2016 Olympics before adding open water swimming to his busy programme, had already claimed two World and three European gold medals across races in Budapest and Roma respectively earlier in 2022.

He last won a FINA World Short Course Championships event in 2014, finishing with silver at the editions in 2016 and 2018 before missing Abu Dhabi 2021.

Paltrinieri took reclaimed the 1500m title after finishing in a time of 14 minutes 16.99 secs.

“I wasn’t always confident, but it’s good to be back on top in short course,” he said.

“I was suffering today, like the others. I’m swimming more for open water than the pool and I’m not (training) swimming short course at the moment at all so to do this is really cool.”

Gregorio Paltrinieri celebrates his 1500m win in Melbourne – image courtesy of FINA.

Damien Joly of France took silver in a time of 14:19.62.

The 30-year-old claimed his first-ever major international medal with bronze at the Roma 2022 European Championships in August and was delighted to secure a maiden global honour in Melbourne.

“Maybe I’m like a fine French red wine that gets better with age,” he said with a smile.

Norway’s Henrik Christiansen rounded off European domination in the event by claiming third in 14:24.08.

Earlier in the day Charlotte Bonnet set a new French record, of 2:06.70, enroute to the 200m individual medley final, where she would finish seventh in a race won by Kate Douglass of the USA.

The second day of competition will see Olympic champion Adam Peaty (Great Britain) as well as fellow breaststroke specialists Ruta Meilutyte (Lithuania) and Benedetta Pilato (Italy) begin their campaigns.

The Melbourne Sports and Aquatics Centre hosted the 2007 FINA World Championships.