«In swimming many records will fall, there is a generational change. My idols are not there: Federer has given up and Rossi does not play an Olympic sport. They never give up “
If he hadn’t done the swimmer – breaststroke specialty, exuberant and a bit crazy ranista subcategory as some literature wants – Nicolò «Tete» Martinenghi (“The nickname that my brother gave me as a child and that I have carried around since then, even the teachers called me that”) today could have been in the laboratorio orafo of his father to learn to work gold. Instead he will leave the Tokorozawa training center, he will enter the Olympic Village and then some kind of metal will try to put him around his neck, within a blue expedition of swimming with a thousand hopes (perhaps never as in the past), but with few certainties, especially after the mononucleosis that struck Greg Paltrinieri.
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How do you feel inside these turbulent Games?
“We had a great time up to here. We found a happy little island, with an Italian cook that was even too good. We are on a university campus, but isolated, from the dormitory to the swimming pool, even the streets have outlined paths intended only for us ».
On Thursday you are going to the Village, some idol that will immediately go to look for?
«I’ll go say hello to Polonara, I’m from Varese and I like basketball, I used to go to see him when he played there. Then unfortunately my idols will not be there: Federer has given up and Valentino Rossi does not play an Olympic sport ».
Are you among those who think that Valentino should stop?
«No, on the contrary, he is an idol precisely because he has been competitive for 30 years, and even if today the goals are different, he is always there to fight. Like Federer ».
On Saturday, ready to go, she will have to be competitive: she starts immediately with the 100 breaststroke batteries. How does she feel?
“Don’t worry, this is how my first Olympics should be, I try to enjoy it.”
She has to compete in the era of a phenomenon like Adam Peaty, one who has almost invented a new way to swim breaststroke. Bad lucky?
«That’s right, Peaty has upset this discipline! But I don’t consider it a bad luck, rather a stimulus, an added value. It’s not every day that you come across champions of this level. I think it’s been 7 or 8 years that he hasn’t lost a game that counts ».
Gold is his stuff.
«He competes against himself, but it’s the whole movement that has grown so much: the other day I was looking at some statistics, the first 20 performances ever are for active swimmers. With 58 ” 9 only in Rio they came third, today perhaps tenths or elevenths. Let’s say that I’m lucky enough to be half a generation younger, I’m 21, he’s 26. Peaty is the locomotive of a train that is going very fast, but I like to run after this train ».
What races do you expect, after the pandemic and few international comparisons? Do you think there will be surprising results?
«There are always surprises at the Olympics, and this one will be different from all of them, it is useless to hide it. I believe we will see many records fall, there is a generational change taking place. They will be show competitions ».
She too can have her say: this season she showed excellent things, a tempone, 58”37, Italian record at the Absolutes in Riccione, good performances.
«I think it was the season of competitive maturity, which consecrated my growth a bit. I have taken confidence. Now I’m no longer the outsider: I like it like that ».
But the European Championships in Budapest – his first international competition as a senior – did not go as he hoped: 5th in the 100, a bronze in the 50 instead.
“True. It wasn’t a pressure problem, maybe I got too convinced in the final. But I learned my lesson and at the Sette Colli I did a more reasoned and calibrated race ».
Swimming is also a mental thing: you have chosen to get help from a mental coach.
«I started as a kid, and I think it was good, a young mind is more ‘trainable’. At 13 I had a mental coach who was inspired by oriental ideas, he followed some practices of Tibetan monks. Now, on the other hand, I work with Lorenzo Marconi, I focus on taking care of the details. We talk once a week, at certain times even more. For example, when a competition does not go as you expected, you have to take a step back and analyze everything with an external figure can help ».
Is it true that he is a great fashion lover?
«I confirm, I stay with the look, I always try to put some personality into it when I get dressed. It is an area that I would like to study for the future ».
There’s time. In the meantime, what do swimmers do in their free time at the Olympics? Everyone on the cell phone?
“But no, in the evening we get in a circle and play an old game with cards, mafia-cops we call him: when you know who the dead is, everyone participates in the investigation including the guilty ones”
An old style game.
“We also play mimes.”
It looks like a close-knit national team: what results can it bring?
“We are friends, it’s true. We know that the average level is very high, there are many young people, many good performances can come out. Medals I don’t know. But it seems the year is favorable for Italy. Then I had already rejoiced for Inter too ».
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Does football success help you too?
“Yes, it creates a more patriotic atmosphere.” Come on Italy then.
July 22, 2021 (change July 22, 2021 | 07:16)
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