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Friends and rivals. Rivals and friends. Arno Kamminga (NED) and Nicolò Martinenghi (ITA), are two of the European stars of today’s breaststroke. At the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, behind the otherworldly Adam Peaty (GBR), absent from Roma 2022 due to injury, the Dutchman took a coveted silver, beating the Italian athlete who had to settle for bronze. But at the world championships in Budapest, ‘Tete’ - this is Martinenghi's nickname - took a resounding revenge by winning gold.
This afternoon at 18:18 they will be back against each other on the blocks of the Foro Italico Pool for the men’s 100m breaststroke final.
“With Arno we talk often, there is a very good relationship; when he arrived in Italy we exchanged a few texts. - Martinenghi said.” The season has been long, we are at the same level in terms of energy; we should scrape the bottom while there is some, so for the final, who has more, will put more into it.”
They have similar styles, with a trademark, also out of the pool. And Martinenghi explains why: "We, breaststroke swimmers, are all black sheep among the groups; I like that, it identifies us uniquely. I am talking about life in general, the approach to it. We have our own trademark."
Kamminga, three years older than Martinenghi, does not hide his fondness for the Italian athlete. "Nicolò makes me laugh a lot, he is a great guy and also a great professional. It's always a pleasure to see him and compete against him. We push each other to do better and better all the time. There is a great friendship but also a great rivalry and I must say that he is one of the best out there. The welcome in Rome? I've done the Sette Colli a already couple of times so I knew what facility I was walking into but still it gives me chills. It's really nice, the atmosphere is one of the best."

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