On day 1 at the Italian National Championships and World Championship Trials, the Italian team has earned itself several automatic qualifiers for this summer’s World Championships in Shanghai.
Not the least of these qualifiers was Federica Pellegrini in the 400 free, which was the singular swim that likely had the most eyes focused on it at this meet. That’s because Pellegrini was chasing the time (in the minds of spectators) of Britain’s Rebecca Adlington from UK Nationals a few weeks ago, where she posted a 4:02.84. Pellegrini was well ahead of that pace through about 340 meters, but Adlington finished much stronger than her Italian counterpart.
Courtesy of SpeedEndurance, let’s check out the comparative splits:
This puts the world on notice: If you want to beat Adlington in Shanghai (or London), you’re going to have to go out very hard, because you’re not going to match her on the last lap.
In other action on the day, Elena Gemo and Carlotta Zofkova both posted FINA A-standards in the women’s 100 back to go 1-2. Those marks were a 1:01.22 for Gemo and a 1:01.53 for Zofkova. Zofkova’s mark passed Alesssia Filippi for the Italian 18 & under record (breaking the mark of 800 SCM free World Record holder Alessia Fillipi).
In the men’s version of the 100 back, Mirco Di Tora was about half-a-second off of his National Record, but still posted a solid 54.25 to take the title and earn a spot in Shanghai. It also ties David Plummer’s mark from the Indy Grand Prix as the 16th-fastest in the world this year.
The big shock of the day was the men’s 50 breaststroke, where Mattia Pesce upset Fabio Scozzoli for the title with a time of 27.87 that ranks 7th in the world this season. Scozzoli, who missed his season-best time set in Milan in March, posted a 27.90. He will now sit on the edge of his seat to see if he earns an invite to Shanghai from his federation: He easily cleared the A-mark at Euro’s in 2010 with a 27.38 that ranked him 5th in the world last year, but his inability to match that at Nationals leaves a little bit of doubt. Scozzoli is the only Italian with an A-time in this race in a qualifying meet, and will likely qualify in the 100 breaststroke either way. Where it gets a bit hairy is that if Scozzoli is entered into the 50 breaststroke in Shanghai, (by my interpretation of the FINA rules, which are very poorly written), this means that the National Champion, Pesce, will not be able to swim.
Luca Dotto announced himself as a contender in the men’s 100 free when he posted a 48.58, that splits (by .01 each way) a pair of French swimmers for the 4th-fastest mark in the world this year. At just shy of his 21st Birthday (which will be next Monday), he’s got a great future as a sprint freestyler. Joining him in the individual 100 for this summer is the godfather of Italian sprinting: Filippo Magnini, who put up a 49.10 for the runner-up spot, though seemingly without much rest. This Italian relay is shaping up to be a dangerous one: The top 4 finishers were each 49.3 or better, and aside from Magnini none were older than 21. Not only that, but they’ve got some great young sprinters waiting in the wings too. Definitely a relay to keep an eye on for 2016, if not 2012.
Among other top-ranked performances was Samuel Pizzeti‘s 7:49.79 in the 800 free that ranks him 2nd in the world this year. This was an important showing for the squad as a whole, as European Record holder Federico Colbertaldo, who was 6th at the European Championships last year, limped to an 8th-place finish. He swam a solid first 100, but then quickly plummeted off the pace. No word on what the cause of his slow swim was, but his time was 8:07.35.
The women’s 200 fly didn’t result in world rankings of any significance, but it did stamp two more passports for China. Former European Junior champ Caterina Giacchetti took the gold in 2:09.84, and 16-year old Alessia Polieri (who has a good chance of being a future European Junior champ) took silver in 2:10.17.