Bernd Berkhahn was right.

Just like that.

He doesn't expect a world record in Budapest, the national coach said before the swimmers left for the World Championships in the Hungarian capital, referring primarily to the men's 1500 meter freestyle race.

At the European Championships in Rome in August, under the open sky, it is quite possible that the world record set by the Chinese Sun Yang, which he set ten years ago in the London Olympic pool, could be broken.

Christopher Becker

sports editor.

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There are a few candidates.

Florian Wellbrock, who trains at Berkhahn in Magdeburg, for example.

Wellbrock had said before the World Championships that he thought Sun's best time of 14:31.02 minutes could "slowly be shaken up".

And there is the Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri, who is getting older but not slowing down, and who has often been very fast in Rome.

But a world record in Budapest?

Rather not.

On Saturday evening, when the clock hand had just touched half past six, Paltrinieri made a U-turn for the twenty-eighth time.

The now 28-year-old Italian had crawled 1,400 of 1,500 meters.

Paltrinieri was world champion on this route in 2015 and 2017, and Olympic champion in 2016.

But he's never been that good.

After 1400 meters the time measurement for lane 1 showed: - 2.81 seconds.

Almost three seconds ahead.

To the world record.

This was Paltrinieri's race

The competition – Wellbrock, the 2019 World Champion, the American Olympic champion from Tokyo, Bobby Finke, the second Magdeburg player Lukas Märtens and Mychajlo Romantschuk, who fled to Berkhahn before the war – swam very quickly without question.

But the race was decided long ago.

This was Paltrinieri's race, from start to finish.

No one could keep up with the pace he set.

Afterwards, Paltrinieri said that he had seen the spectators from the pool very closely, the Italian team, which was almost over the moon at the show that their colleague was putting on.

"They cheered me on, I couldn't swim any slower," Paltrinieri said afterwards.

After just 200 meters he was more than a second ahead, halfway through the race it was almost four seconds and after 900 meters almost five seconds.

Anything daring.

All won.

Only not the world record, Gregorio Paltrinieri finished after 14:32.80 minutes.

A European has never been faster.

Sun Yang, the Chinese, was phenomenally fast in the last hundred meters in London 2012.

To complete the picture, Sun is currently serving his four-year, three-month ban after refusing a doping test in 2018.

Paltrinieri's impressive run forward was enough for a 3.90 second lead after 30 lanes on Finke, who was second, 4.14 on Wellbrock, who finished third, Märtens was fourth, Romantschuk fifth.

Wellbrock, who had formulated his claim for gold before the race and was the fastest swimmer on lane four, did not want to be dissatisfied with third place.

"At a world championship, especially in this field, it is never a matter of course to get on the podium." Paltrinieri was unbeatable, said Wellbrock and Finke showed the German, as in Tokyo and in the 800-meter race in Budapest, that he has the better final sprint.

Coach Berkhahn wasn't entirely satisfied.

Wellbrock was "a bit too shy to start swimming again," he told the sports information service.

"He came out of the water and said: I haven't fully utilized myself and could now continue swimming.

Gregorio swims with a giant heart, so the boys are still a bit reserved."

German swimmers took part in the award ceremonies of the pool competitions in Budapest four times, which is a better result than at the last world championships three years ago, when there were three medals for the German Swimming Association.

The national coach is "very satisfied", Berkhahn said about his ten World Cup swimmers, the team was "simply great", "everything" was fine.

On the last day of the pool competitions, Anna Elendt (fifth over 50 meters breaststroke) and Ole Braunschweig (seventh over 50 meters backstroke) started in individual finals, the men's medley relay swam in sixth place.

German swimmers only expand world class

All good reasons for Berkhahn's happy record, but the national coach knows that the majority of the best German swimmers belong to the extended, but not to the absolute top of the world.

German medals will remain rare in the years to come.

Alongside Wellbrock, Märtens, who finished second in the 400m freestyle, and Elendt, second in the 100m breaststroke, are on track;

but others have made a name for themselves as young stars of these world championships, the 15-year-old Canadian Summer McIntosh with her two victories, the Romanian David Popovici, 17, also two-time world champion and the Italian Benedetta Pilato, who had narrowly beaten Elendt over 100 meters breaststroke .

Sarah Wellbrock will have the right to return to the top of the world after passing her law exams - with the restriction that Katie Ledecky also showed in Budapest that she defines the top of the world on the long freestyle distances as a very own category.

At 25, Ledecky has now won 14 individual world titles.

She won the 800m (over 10 seconds) and 1500m freestyle (over 14 seconds) by enough margins to make Saturday's win for Paltrinieri look like a photo finish.

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