Born Aug. 5, 1988 in Italy Federica Pellegrini is a three-time Italian Olympic swimmer. Pellegrini was born in Mirano and in the month of August – Pellegrini is a freestyle specialist, and was the first female to break the 4:00 barrier in the 400m freestyles. She’s sponsored by Jaked, and Pellgrini stands about 5’10”.
Pellegrini is also passionate about fashion and music, and has numerous tattoos located on her forearm, side, neck, ankle and foot. She also is heavily involved in charity work – she puts her own items up for auction on eBay, and donates the proceeds to a local charity. Pellegrini prides herself in being a Leo and through her success at such a young age she earned the nickname, the The Lioness of Verona.
Brought up as a relay-only swimmer
Pellegrini was first called up to the Italian senior team for the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona as a relay swimmer. She then competed at the European Championships later that year in Dublin, where she competed in her first individual races.
2004 was a big year for Pellegrini – she had three top-eight finishes at the 2004 European Championships swam in her first Olympics. At the 2004 Athens Olympics, Pellegrini finished second, winning a silver medal at just 16 years old, making her the youngest Italian athlete in history to win an individual medal at the Olympic Games.
She won a silver medal in the 200m freestyle at the 2005 World Championships, and later winning the event at the European Championships. In 2006 she finished second in the 200m freestyle and third in the 400m freestyle at the World Championships.
2007 World and European Championships
At the 2007 World Championships Pellegrini finished third in the 200m freestyle and in that same year she also picked up a silver in the 400m freestyle at the 2007 European Championships.
2008 Bejing Olympics
At the 2008 European Championships Pellegrini won gold in the 400m freestyle. She qualified for the Olympics again and competed at her second Olympics in Beijing, this time winning gold in the 200m freestyle, and her 800 freestyle relay team picked up a fourth-place finish.
2009 World Championships – Pellegrini sets new World Records
In 2009 she broke two world records in the 200m and 400m freestyles, with gold-medal wins at the World Championships… in fact she’s broken the 200m freestyle records six times over the course of her career.
2011 World Championship – Shanghai
At the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai Pellegrini picked up two more wins in the 200m and 400m freestyles.
2012 London Olympics
In 2012 she swam in her third Olympics, just missing the podium in her two signature events, but she won gold in the 200 at the European Championships that year. 2013 was a bit of a medal redemption, finishing second in the 200m freestyle behind Missy Franklin.
2013 World Championships
Pellegrini declared early in the season that she would not compete at Worlds. At the last minute she entered and won silver in the 200m freestyle, 1:55.14.
2015 World Championships
Going into the 2015 World Championships in Kazan Pellegrini was one of the world’s fastest in the 200-meter free. Coming out of the preliminary heats Pellegrini advanced from the semi-finals to the championship final in 1st place. In front of big names like Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky, the championship final would be no easy heat. In the final Pellegrini, who is also the World Record holder in the event, took the first 50 and 100 meters out smooth and relaxed. Sitting in 6th at the halfway mark, Pellegrini slowly began pushing for the back-half of the race and began moving her way up the field. By the 150 meter mark Pellegrini had caught two swimmers and was sitting in 4th, but in her last 50 meters she really turned on the jets, and as the rest of the field began to fade Pellegrini was moving up places. She had the fastest last 50 meters in the field to touch 2nd behind Ledecky, just .16 seconds from touching in 1st.
Pellegrini joined three other Italian teammates to race the 4×200-meter free relay. Swimming the anchor leg, Pellegrini dove into the water in 5th place behind the United States and Sweden who were clear front runners. She was one of only two swimmers in the entire field to split below 1:55 seconds, and it was enough to move up three places and finish 2nd behind the U.S.
2016 Rio Olympics
Pellegrini finished just out of the medals in the 200m Free with a time of 1:55.18. In the 4x100m medley relay, Pellegrini, along with Ilaria Bianchi, Arianna Castiglioni, and Carlotta Zofkova finished in 8th Place.
2016 FINA World Short Course Championships
Pellegrini won the 200M free with a time of 1:51.73, finishing one half second ahead of second place finisher Katinka Hosszu
Pellegrini won her signature race in Budapest on day four of competition in 1:54.73, blowing past USA’s Katie Ledecky and Australia’s Emma McKeon over the final 50 meters. It was the seventh consecutive world championship medal-worth performance for the Italian in this event.
200 Freestyle Comparative Splits – Top 3 Finishers:
Pellegrini – 56.41/58.32 = 1:54.73
Ledecky – 56.09/59.09 = 1:55.18
McKeon – 55.83/59.35 = 1:55.18
2018 Short Course World Championships
In Hangzhou, Pellegrini anchored Italy’s 4×100 medley relay to bronze, splitting 52.11 to help break the Italian national record in the process.
2019 FINA World Championships
After swearing off of the 200 free after winning in 2017, Pellegrini in fact did return in the event for the 2019 World Champs, and defended her gold at 30 years of age. Flipping 3rd at the 150 wall, Pellegrini came home in 28.90 on the last 50, passing by 2nd place Ariarne Titmus and 3rd place Sarah Sjostrom to touch 1st in a time of 1:54.22.