The Fort Worth Press - Martinenghi wins 100m breaststroke European gold, Popovici into freestyle semis

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Martinenghi wins 100m breaststroke European gold, Popovici into freestyle semis
Martinenghi wins 100m breaststroke European gold, Popovici into freestyle semis / Photo: © AFP

Martinenghi wins 100m breaststroke European gold, Popovici into freestyle semis

World champion Nicolo Martinenghi won the 100 metres breaststroke at the European Swimming Championships on Friday, while teen sensation David Popovici looked in fine form by cruising into the semi-finals of 100m freestyle.

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Martinenghi was a double gold winner in Budapest in June and got the home crowd roaring in Rome with a time of 58.26 seconds, beating countryman Federico Poggio by 0.72sec.

Andrius Sidlauskas took the bronze for Lithuania.

The 23-year-old's win was one of three golds for Italy in Friday's evening session at the Foro Italico in the Italian capital.

Margherita Panziera won the 200m backstroke while Thomas Ceccon claimed the honours in the 50m butterfly.

Earlier on Friday, Popovici got off to a perfect start when the 17-year-old won his 100m freestyle heat by posting the best time of the round, 47.20sec.

Popovici, who in June became first man to complete the 100-200m freestyle double at the World Championships in nearly 50 years, will race in the semi-finals later on Friday.

The final is scheduled for Saturday evening, with Romanian Popovici in line to continue what has been a golden summer in which he has also won three European junior titles in his home town of Bucharest.

Ukraine's Marta Fiedina followed up on her artistic swimming team technical gold by winning the solo technical discipline, pipping local hope Linda Cerutti in the final moments.

Also double gold winner at the recent worlds, Fiedina was the last to take to the pool and won over the judges to earn a score of 92.6394, 1.7555 points ahead of Cerutti who had been leading since finishing her routine as fifth of 21 participants.

"I really gave everything I could at this moment. This is my best performance in Technical Solo this year, for sure," said the champion.

Giorgio Minisini won the European championships inaugural men's edition of the solo technical with a score of 85.7033, the Italian finishing over six points ahead of Spain's Fernando Diaz Del Rio Soto.

G.George--TFWP