Olympics Rio 2016: Italy's Gregorio Paltrinieri leads from the front to win 1,500m freestyle

Italy's Paltrinieri leads from the front to win 1,500m freestyle
By Reuters

14/08/2016 at 04:06

Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy won the Olympic gold medal in the 1,500 metres freestyle on Saturday with a relentless display of technique and endurance in the longest event in the pool.

Connor Jaeger of the United States took the silver, and Italy's Gabriele Detti won bronze after overhauling Jordan Wilimovsky of the U.S. in the closing stages.

Paltrinieri, the world champion, was ahead by 150 metres and never looked like being beaten.

Having been on track through most of the race to beat the world record, he eased off slightly to clock 14 minutes, 34.57 seconds, 3.55 seconds outside Sun Yang's mark of 14:31.02 the Chinese swimmer set at London in 2012.

The winning margin was 4.91 seconds.

Breathing to the right after each powerful stroke, the Italian had stretched his lead to more than two seconds by 350 metres and more than three by 550, as Australia's Mack Horton and Jaeger led the chasing group early on.

By 650 metres it was Wilimovsky who had moved up to second, and it looked as though he and Jaeger would claim the other two medals before Detti caught him in the closing stages to grab the bronze.

London champion Sun failed to make the final after he finished 16th in the heats.