«Budapest gold didn't change my life»- Corriere.it

«Budapest gold didn't change my life»- Corriere.it

Of Arianna Ravelli, sent to Fukuoka

Ceccon won in the 100m backstroke a year ago at the World Championships in Budapest: «But if it were up to me I wouldn't do them and I would try the world record in the 100m or 50m butterfly. In Japan, however, I have to defend the title. Others fear me, I turn fear into water in safety"

Like an actor who is imprisoned in the role of a character who has had great success or a singer who is always asked to play the same hit, so Thomas Cecon he would gladly leave the 100m backstroke with which, a year ago, at the World Championships in Budapest, he won gold complete with a world record and an unforgettable grimace on his moustache. Madness, but Thomas is the prophet of versatility, the only one in Italy who, kissed by an incredible talent, is able to bring freestyle, backstroke and butterfly competitions into the programme. A bit like Gregorio Paltrinieri, who wanted to combine the swimming pool with sea racing, Thomas also stimulates himself only if he changes (and adds).

Let's be clear: you're here in Fukuoka primarily to try and confirm yourself in the 100m backstroke.

«Yes, of course, I know I can't not do them. And I also have to do them well since I have to defend the title. But confirming oneself, everyone says it, is difficult. Then maybe another world record comes, but if I don't win the World Championship nothing happens, it will depend on the race and the time, if I do 51''90 (the record is 51''6) and finish third I can't get angry».

He said it will be difficult to achieve the same results as a year ago.

«Especially in the relays, seeing everyone's times we are not those of last year».

But if you could decide what you would like to do?

«My coach and I have this philosophy, did I compete with the world record? Well, now I'll switch and try to set the record in the 100m dolphin. Or dolphin in the 50s: even if he's very short, I think I can beat him, it's enough for me to start like Dressel, right?».

Does this versatility depend on the fact that you feel a bit like an artist? She wrote it on her Instagram profile.
"Ah, I forgot about that. I wish I wasn't judging myself."

Let's go back to the 100m backstroke: now that he's the man to beat, what's changed?

"Change everything. It's a situation I don't suffer from, I experienced it in Rome at the European Championships. It's cool that others are afraid of you, in the final they say "this made the world record". And if you can turn your fear into safety, it's done. When Federica (Pellegrini) was competing, maybe in the semifinal there were some faster opponents, but then in the final they got scared and she beat them... I'm not saying what will happen, or even what point on this, but it's something that plays in my favor».

A year ago that grimace: his arched mustache that said "mom what have I done" is remembered by everyone. By the way, do you still have them?

"Right now I have a beard and long hair but I don't know how I will compete, I haven't decided yet".

Has winning the World Cup changed your life?

«It's a big word, I keep doing what I've always done, swimming... commitments have increased a bit outside the swimming pools, but nothing that can't be managed. You know how it is, unfortunately or fortunately once the competitions are over, nobody considers us anymore…».

Has economic tranquility arrived at least?

«I have some extra money, I certainly haven't become rich. I can treat myself to a few whims, but I'm not one to spend a thousand euros on a pair of shoes».

He will be more successful with girls.

"No, no, I'm not thinking about it at the moment. It's so strange?".

Did you learn to draw? In Budapest he took lessons from Zazzeri.

"No, I only draw when I'm with him."

But he began to take an interest in photography.

«They had given me a camera, so in Melbourne I went around to take some pictures, but you should at least study and then travel, I only do it for the competitions. Let's see if Japan inspires me…».

How is the pre-Olympic year, how does the preparation change?

«It's always a somewhat strange year, less important, but I try to do as well as possible, because if you do well, you have a good boost for the Olympics, if it goes badly it's more difficult to start training again. This year too, like last year, unfortunately I got sick in February, it was almost worse than Covid. Now I have recovered: come on, I have no excuses ».

Caeleb Dressel has stopped swimming and is only now coming back, Adam Peaty has spoken about his mental problems: what is the secret to staying balanced?

«It's very difficult, I think at a certain point it's impossible, even Phelps fell into depression after London, it always happens. If you win a lot, the curve then goes down, of course. And they won everything: in my small way, I too know what it feels like. But Dressel now says a beautiful thing: "I came back not because I had to but because I'm happy to be back in the water". It creeps me out. Someone like him still wants to."

She also says in her own small way she tried it.

«After the races the spotlights go out, you have to go back to training and everything is altered. You don't feel like it, you say "I won and now what else do I have to do?" Paltrinieri also tells it after the Olympic gold, he almost didn't enjoy it ».

And did you enjoy the world record?

«No, you can't party because you have other races. You are delighted, but stay focused. And then that evening I left the swimming pool at half past ten for the interviews».

Popovici, the world record holder in the 100m dash, says his ambition is to inspire people and be remembered 100 years from now.

«He is a bit strange, but perhaps all champions are. It's a great proposition, but if you're not Phelps it's tough... And in a hundred years we'll all be dead from global warming."

But you don't like the idea of ​​being an inspiration?

«Yes, yes: when the kids write to me I am very pleased, even if I don't feel like an idol. I try to carry on this idea, to do more styles, more competitions, we are few in Italy».

And who is it that inspires her instead?

«I follow David Goggins on Youtube, I also bought his book. He's a black boy, who weighed 140 kg, tried to change his condition, entered the Navy Seals, now runs ultra marathons, has the record of 4,000 pull-ups in 17 hours, they call him "the baddest man in the world". But he started from nothing, he denies those who say you are born with a certain genetics, he is a hymn to willpower. On Monday mornings, when I'm half asleep, I play videos of him running and talking and I get really excited."

July 23, 2023 (change July 23, 2023 | 04:22)

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