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six golds on the last day, a record for Italy

Six gold medals in one day! What happened today on the last day of the European Short Course Swimming Championships has never happened: six gold medals, plus two silver and one bronze (and three Italian records) which brought the Azzurri back to second place in the medal table (7-12-3 the scan of metals starting from gold, total 22) behind Great Britain (9-8-6) but if there had been the two possibilities of Thomas Ceccon… Here are the Magnificent Six, almost the Seven of the film, with Miressi in the silver style.

KING PRINCE OF THE FROGS

It is not the kiss, but it is the medal that transforms the blue frogmen into kings and princes. The king is Nicolò Martinenghi, he won the gold in the 50 (it is his first individual gold in the distance and short course, the first individual here in Italy), the prince is Simone Cerasuolo, his the silver in the same race. 25.66 the time of the winner, who they call Tete, 25.83 that of Simone. The fifty has become a very fifty for Italy. “It bugged me, I made a lot of mistakes _ smiles Tete _and there was also a lot of tension waiting for the VAR”. There’s reason to tremble a little, like in football when the ball in the net is no longer enough. “I’m extremely happy, and also for Simone who has a beautiful future”. Which future, says Cerasuolo, “is the 100 in the long course: now I dedicate myself to it with all of myself, I can’t wait for the long course”. And he sees the Eyffel Tower. Martinenghi is already on the elevator…

AND THE EMPEROR FROG

“This was a race to win, but also to find my times again and tell myself that I’m back” says Benedetta Pilato as soon as she won her 50, 28.86 time (only her under 29), which means that she did all things preordained.” She blows kisses from the tub, her vermilion nails shine, her hair melts in the water when she takes off her cap: Ceccon’s. It’s the amulet. She stops to watch the 100 freestyle for Miressi almost from the side of the pool, “we are teammates” she smiles slyly. They are in blue but also in Turin, where Benny moved this year, to train with Antonio Satta and Miressi, and to study biology.
If those were king and prince, Benny rediscovers herself as empress by defeating the rising star Jefimova and in third place, therefore bronze and the podium, the latest arrival in the Italian shipping company, Jasmine Nocentini, the Italian who grew up in America (the dad worked in Panama), 29.41 his time. Time to catch her breath for Jasmine, called to the final relay. Silvia Di Pietro, eighth in the 50 butterfly final, has even less of an interval: “My legs are cramped, but I’ll get back on track…”.

SIMONA AT “POISON”

Simona Quadarella, even considered not to be in top condition which saw her silver in the past days in the 800 and 1500, had her classic “poison” in the queue (that’s what her mother called her when she was little): and she ” poisoned”, in the 400 freestyle, the Russian neo-French Kirpchnikova who had always preceded her in those long races. “I didn’t start well, but I finished very well: I knew I could win the 400, and I wanted to win it. I did it”. And she did it in 3:59.50, climbing a few lines to the Italian record which is held by Federica Pellegrini. And swimming as she knows how: slow start with the furious Kirpchnivova immediately taking off; but Simona kept an eye on her and her arm and when she started moving as she knows she overtook her at the 275 meter mark and then always kept her behind her. The opponent finished in 3:59.56.

GOLDEN AND RECORD ROCKET

Alberto Razzetti, in the call room for the 400 medley, pricked up his ears to hear from behind the speaker’s voice describing the wonders of the Quadarella and got excited thinking “I’ll do like her”, even if the predictions gave the Scot Duncan Scott the favourite. After all, they considered Kirpchnikova the favourite…
He dove ready to do everything and more. Scott attacked immediately but Razzo kept him at bay in the dolphin and backstroke. Then he the breaststroke: “It was here that I realized that I would win”.

It passed, and the return of the desperate Scotsman in freestyle was not up to par with the formidable Ligurian, who had already taken two silvers in Otopeni. He gave him three seconds: 3:57.01 the time of the blue, 4:00.17 that of Scott. Razzetti shattered his Italian record by two seconds. “The Olympic qualification in Riccione, a gold and two silvers here: what more could you want? I couldn’t wait to be able to talk about it, at least for a while no more effort.” And so much cacciucco… He trains in Livorno with Stefano Franceschi.

MAGICAL BLACKBERRY

You could have expected those four above, Lorenzo Mora in the 200 backstroke minus. Yes, he had already reached the podium twice for bronze (always shared with someone else), “but now this week, which didn’t seem positive to me, really needs to be reviewed”, says Lorenzo who with the gold also improved his own Italian record finishing in 1:48.43. “It’s the first international title I’ve won, there was one but at the Mediterranean Games. I had a Madonna race, sorry, a good race; I did it as I wanted, letting the French vent and then…”. Then the mustachioed Tomac, who was going for the backstroke trilogy having won the 50 and 100, gave up: he also lost the silver, which went to the Englishman Greenbank.

AND THE FINAL GOLD!

They get together for the final race: the gold band. Lorenzo Mora goes to backstroke (23.01), Nicolo Martinenghi to breaststroke, (24.07, “sticking to my best”), Silvia Di Pietro to butterfly (25.32), Jasmine Nocentini to freestyle (23.38) for a winning total of 1:36.58 against France’s silver, 1.37.14 with the Italian overtaking in the pool and in the medal table. It is the mixed relay, which mixes the two sexes and the four styles. Coach Butini chooses flower from flower (he failed in the morning, after the qualification, Rivolta on the back: he was injured and returned urgently for surgery) and all those medals together don’t drown, they are torpedoes. Mora goes, Martinenghi flies, Di Pietro holds, Nocentini resists. For the four it was “fun”, for everyone, protagonists and spectators, exciting.

MIREX ALSO A RECORD

Alessandro Miressi won silver in the main race, the 100 freestyle: but his performance is equally impressive, because he finishes between a world champion, the Frenchman Grousset, and a record holder in the long distance, the Romanian Popovici, for which all of Otopeni was shouting “David, David”. And he ends up with a time of 45.51 which improves the Italian record (also his, 45.57). Grousset wins in 45.46, and the two of them are under 46 seconds. He is just above Popovici 46.05, and sixth between such wisdom and at his best Leonardo Deplano, 46.36.

THE WIFFEN CHERRY

The icing on the cake of world swimming, to broaden our gaze, is put by the Irish twin Daniel Wiffen who, after the 400 and 1500, also wins the 800, again in freestyle, and does so in 7:20.46, almost three seconds less than a world record that smacked of history and customs, the 7:24.42 of the Australian Grant Hacket fifteen years ago, the oldest swimming record still in force.

WORD OF CITIES

Cesare Butini, Italy’s technical commissioner, cannot help but be happy: “Italy has awakened”, he says, influenced by having heard our anthem six times in one day. He wishes Rivolta well, he thinks about the future that he has a fixed goal: Paris. “Here was also a young team, which also looks beyond, good athletes and coaches, they have shown that if there is a need to play hard they are there”. And now? “It will be a complicated year, we will try to make individualized choices.” Also because we start again immediately with gatherings in the heat or the cold, sea and mountains, South Africa, Tenerife, Livigno. “I think that between the World Cup in February and Paris in the summer there is time to reschedule our preparations.” What if they got the Europeans involved as they say? “The Olympic team might not go, but we have a lot of young people who could do well and experience. We have seen here that you grow by competing…”.

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1970-01-01 00:00:00
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