Thomas Ceccon and Benedetta Pilato
The athlete from Veneto has improved a record that he had endured since 2016: “I didn’t expect this time, but today I had no rivals”. For Benedetta a comeback victory over rivals in the 100 breaststroke
A historian Thomas Ceccon and a beautiful Benedetta Pilato bathe Italian swimming in gold at the World Championships in Budapest. The Venetian from Schio born in 2001 is irresistible at the Hungarian World Cup in the 100 backstroke, also setting the world record. The blue scores an amazing 51 “60, breaking down the previous record of the American Ryan Murphy with 51” 85, obtained in Rio 2016. For the young athlete there is also the satisfaction of being the second Italian to sign an individual record in long tub. The only precedent was by Giorgio Lamberti in the 200 style, while big names like Massimiliano Rosolino, Domenico Fioravanti, Filippo Magnini and Gregorio Paltrinieri have never succeeded. To complete the tricolor party, Pilato from Taranto thinks at the end of the evening, who at 17 wins the gold in the 100 breaststroke thanks to a sprint as a race champion.
With his exploits in Budapest, Ceccon also cancels the taboo in the backstroke that until now had only seen Stefano Battistelli on the podium with the silver in the 200 backstroke in Perth 1991, emulated three years later at the 1994 World Championships in Rome by Lorenza Vigarani: the only Italian swimmer medal in the specialty swimming upwards. “Maybe I still have to realize because the time is really very low – says the 21 year old from Schio coached by Alberto Burlina at the federal center of Verona -. The record is the icing on the cake, lots of stuff. Murphy tried to put me in trouble but I knew I felt good, I had great awareness. Maybe today I was unbeatable even if the two Russians had participated ».
And Benedetta is also immense, who in Budapest proves to have become a complete athlete, hypercompetitive even on the Olympic distance that up to now had reserved her more disappointments than joys such as the disqualification in battery at the Olympics. The 17 year old from Taranto wins in 1’05 “93 (in the semifinal 1’05” 88) ahead of the German Anna Elendt, who had the best time in the semifinals, by five cents. But you know, the final is another race. It takes courage, temperament and boldness, the one that is not lacking in the world vice-champion of the 50s. Off the podium in 1’06 “07 Lilly King (2017 world champion on 50 and 100, Olympic champion of 2016 and bronze in Tokyo, as well as world record holder ), who remains within five cents of the former enfant prodige Ruta Meilutyte, the Lithuanian who 10 years ago, at the age of 15, won the Olympics, world and European to the sound of records and then disappeared. “It was my first world final in the 100 breaststroke and I was already happy to have reached it. Having won is really surprising – admits the Taranto woman – Before the race I was crying for joy for Ceccon who made me relive the sensations I felt when I set the world record and now here I am with gold around my neck . We are a very strong national team. We are united, we win, everything seems to come easy “.
The irrepressible joy for Ceccon and Pilato is contrasted by the great disappointment for Simona Quadarella who slips off the world podium after the bronze in 2017 and the success at Gwangju 2019. The 23-year-old from Rome does not go beyond fifth place in 16 ‘ 03 “84 as in Tokyo and returns the crown to the world record holder Katie Ledecki, unbeaten at the world championships since 2013 who in South Korea had to give up the final due to a sudden malaise.” Unfortunately I was unrecognizable from the beginning – admits the blue in tears – I feel like I’m living a nightmare. In the heats I swam well and even in training I felt good sensations. The podium was certainly within my reach. Now I have to reset and think about the 800s, hoping for a different outcome “, concludes the vice-champion of the 800s. freestyle as well as Olympic bronze.
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