Gabriele Detti set a European record with a thrilling late victory in the 800m freestyle, Chad Le Clos found redemption in the 200m butterfly following his Olympic heartache and Adam Peaty won his second gold medal of the meet in the 50m breaststroke at the World Championships in Budapest.
Laszlo Cseh was second behind Chad in the 200m butterfly while Gregorio Paltrinieri and Cameron van der Burgh both took bronze in the 800m freestyle and 50m breaststroke respectively as a steady procession of Arena swimmers made their way to the podium at the Duna Arena.
Gabriele has had a great competition with bronze in the 400m freestyle before he produced a late surge in the 800m.
Third with 100m to go, he moved into second after the final turn before powering home to win in 7:40.77, wrestling back the European record he had set in 2014 before Gregorio had lowered it at the last World Championships in Kazan, Russia, in 2015.
Gabriele said: “We train a lot so we are used to this type of competition. But it was great that Italy led this event.”
Gregorio touched third in 7:42.44 but had mixed feelings, saying: “I could see it all happening. I could see the other competitors but I tried to race on my own and not pay attention. In the end, in the last strokes, I couldn’t gather myself so it wasn’t as good as I had expected.”
Chad had endured a miserable time at the 2016 Olympics in Rio where he came fourth in the 200m butterfly, four years after winning the title.
He has made plenty of changes outside the pool by moving coaches and cities and had vowed to return to the top of the podium – although not necessarily this year.
The South African went off like a rocket and was more than a second ahead at halfway, and although Laszlo kept on closing the gap in the second half of the race, Chad was not going to be caught, winning in 1:53.33, the fastest time in the world in 2017, with Laszlo clocking 1:53.72.
Chad was very emotional, sitting on the lane rope after the race, and there were tears on the rostrum.
He said: “I’m back. It was the biggest win probably outside London ever – maybe even bigger than London right now.
“Unbelievable feeling, unbelievable emotion. I tried not to be emotional but it’s hard not to be on such a big occasion.”
Chad explained why he had been so affected. “It was a combination of things, my family’s health obviously was the big one and losing last year was the lowest moment of my career.
“I tried to pretend like it wasn’t but I was in a very bad place last year. I tried to be strong and tried to lie to the media and say ‘oh, I’m good’ but I was down and out.”
Adam twice lowered his own world record in the 50m breaststroke before returning to the pool to take another victory in 25.99 with Cameron third in 26.60.
The Briton had already won the 100m breaststroke in the second fastest time in history and victory in the dash means he has now won the double double following his success in Kazan in 2015.
He said: “My main aim when I won Commonwealths, even though I was a young, skinny kid, was to try to take on the world, ‘can I win all the grand slams in two years?’ That’s European, Commonwealths, worlds and Olympics. I didn’t even think about world records.
“I just wanted those four titles within two years. Now I’ve done that. I’ve had an extra year now. Got 16 international gold medals with all the world records – I think that was number nine last night. In three years it’s pretty good for me.”
Cameron grinned: “I think I will have to retire and when he gets a little older I’ll come back in a couple of years and give them a crack when he’s a little older.