Nicolo Martinenghi made the most of the absence of Adam Peaty to grab the 100m breaststroke world title in Budapest on Sunday and then said he missed the dominant Briton – a little.
“It’s not the same without Adam I know, but I am happy to sit in the throne that he left, I am happy to be the first guy that used this moment without him,” said the 22-year-old Italian.
“I spoke to him before I came here and he said to me he’ll come back fast because the throne needs its king,” Martinenghi said with a laugh.
American Torri Huske then won the second final of the evening, continued her blistering form from the heats as she surged to victory in the women’s 100m butterfly world title.
Huske set a personal best of 55.64sec to beat French hope Marie Wattel by half a second with Zhang Yufei from China completing the podium.
Martinenghi, the bronze medallist in last year’s Olympics, finished in 58.26sec to edge Dutchman Arno Kamminga, who repeated his Tokyo silver with American Nic Fink third.
“It’s 100 percent mentality in this kind of competition, mentality is everything, the most difficult thing is to beat myself, I am racing against the time and myself, not the other guys,” said the Italian.
The winning time was 1.38sec outside Peaty’s championship record.
Peaty has set the 17 fastest times in the history of the event. He won the last two Olympic and last three world titles.