Nicolo Martinenghi leads the field in the 100m breaststroke semi-finals


World Championships: Nicolo Martinenghi leads the peloton in the 100m breaststroke semi-final; Michael Andrew in lockdown

No race on the men’s program lacks the firepower like the 100-metre breaststroke, due to the absence of the British superstar Adam Peat. The three-time world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist in this event, Peaty broke his foot while training on dry ground ahead of the world championships.

With Peaty on the sidelines, Nicolo Martinenghi is one of the athletes looking to climb to the top step of the podium.

A bronze medalist in this event at the Olympic Games last summer in Tokyo, Martinenghi narrowly won the top seed for the 100 breaststroke final. The Italian hit the wall in 58.46, less than a tenth of a second ahead of the American’s 58.55 Nick Fink, the veteran who gets better with age. Martinenghi and Fink fought throughout the first semi-final and will see the Dutchman Arno Kamminga in the mix for the medals in the final.

Kamminga, who was Peaty’s runner-up in Tokyo, won the second semi-final in a 58.89 effort, the last of the sub-59 clocks. gold, although he will likely have to cut at least half a second from his performance in the semis. Kamminga, along with Peaty, is one of only two people to break the 58-second barrier in the event, with Peaty holding the world record with a mind-boggling 56.88.

The surprise of the semi-finals was the ninth place of Michael Andre, who was expected to be a medal contender ahead of the world championships. Coming out of the 50 butterfly semifinals earlier in the session, Andrew didn’t bounce back from that heat and clocked just 59.63 to miss the final by one spot. His ninth-place time was 0.11 shy of what was needed to run for a medal.

Kamminga took a moment to reflect on Peaty’s absence and his influence on the event.

“Yes, of course,” he said of an altered dynamic. “It’s not just Peaty that’s missing. It’s the Russians (and Belarus), so you see the pitch is much, much slower than normal. It’s a different race but I’m happy to have done two races today and to have won both, so I’m happy.

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