Flash! Italian Teen Benedetta Pilato Blasts World Record in 50 Breaststroke at European Champs

Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/ Insidefoto

Flash! Italian Teen Benedetta Pilato Blasts World Record in 50 Breaststroke

Call Italian teenager Benedetta Pilato the greedy type – at least when it comes to racing breaststroke.

The 16-year-old, just hours removed from establishing a world junior record in the 50-meter breaststroke, clearly wanted a little bit more and blasted the overall world record in the event during semifinal action at the European Championships in Budapest on Saturday. Clocking in at 29.30 inside the Duna Arena, Pilato shaved a tenth of a second off the 29.40 mark that American Lilly King delivered at the 2017 World Championships.

It was quite a day for Pilato, who earlier in the week was relegated to spectator status for the semifinals and final of the 100 breaststroke. Although Pilato had the fourth-fastest time of prelims in the 100 breast, she was bettered by countrywomen Arianna Castiglioni and Martina Carraro, and the two-per-country rule locked Pilato out of further action in the event.

Perhaps that scenario fueled the speedster for the 50 breaststroke, as she opened the event with a performance of 29.50 in the prelims, good for the world junior record. That swim also suggested an assault on the world record was imminent. The question now is whether Pilato will take the standard even lower during Sunday’s final.

Only Pilato was able to break the 30-second barrier during the semifinals, with Russian Yuliya Efimova (30.25) taking the second seed for the final nearly a second back, followed by Great Britain’s Sarah Vasey (30.35).

“Oh, I’m really happy,” Pilato said. “I didn’t think I could make this now. I thought I might break the European record but definitely not the world record. Well, Lilly King set that time in this pool so this is the right place to better it.”

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