The absence of defending champion Caeleb Dressel from the men’s 50m butterfly event opened the door for Thomas Ceccon who touched the wall in 22.68 seconds to win Italy’s first gold of the meet to loud cheers on the second day of swimming action at the World Aquatics Championships at a packed Marine Messe Fukuoka Hall.
Seven-time Olympic gold medallist Dressel, who also claimed gold in the 2019 Gwangju worlds, failed to qualify for Fukuoka after disappointing displays at the US national championships.
Diogo Matos Ribeiro of Portugal was 0.12 seconds behind Ceccon to capture the silver medal while it was a disappointing outing for Frenchman Maxime Grousset, who was 0.14 seconds off the pace and had to settle for bronze.
Grousset watched compatriot Leon Marchand open France’s account on Sunday by shattering American great Michael Phelps’ 15-year 400m individual medley record en route to gold and had set the pace in the semi-finals with a new national mark.
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