Luca Dotto is an Italian sprint freestyle specialist based in Rome. He was the first Italian to break 48 seconds in the 100 meter freestyle when he swam 47.96 leading off the 400 freestyle relay at the 2016 Italian National Championships and Olympic Trials.
Dotto’s mother discovered he was a natural in the water when she took him to the pool at six years old. Having never swam before, he was thrown in the pool to see how he would do. As his terrified mother looked on, he appeared from the water and made his was safely to the side of the pool. However, as a child he preferred to play soccer and basketball.
Off the pool deck, Dotto has made a name for himself in the modelling world. In 2014 he became the face of Emporio Armarni’s underwear and eyewear campaigns.
Dotto enjoyed international medal success early on in his career. He made his debut at the 2007 European Juniors where he won bronze in the 50 freestyle. Dotto had a busy year in 2008. At the World Junior Championships he won a gold in the 100 meter freestyle and silver in the 50 meter freestyle. He made the transition to senior competition in 2010 at the European Championships where made the final in the 50 and 100 meter freestyle.
2011 FINA World Championships
Emerging as one of the top sprinters in the world, Dotto traveled to Shanghai for his first World Championships. He took silver in the 50 meter freestyle, just ahead of France’s Alain Bernard and America’s Nathan Adrian. In the 100 meter freestyle he managed to make the final and finish in 7th as well as 4th in the 400 meter freestyle relay.
2012 London Olympics
In London, Dotto’s best finish came as part of the 400 meter freestyle relay when he helped Italy to 7th place in the final. In his individual events he finished 13th and 22nd in the 50 and 100 meter freestyles, respectively.
After his medal success two years previously, Dotto returned to the World Championships in 2013 hoping for more. However, in the 50 meter freestyle he failed to make the semi-final with a 21st place finish. In the 10 meter freestyle he finished 8th and helped Italy to finish 5th in the 400 meter freestyle relay.
At the 2014 European Championships Dotto enjoyed relay success with a gold in the mixed 400 freestyle relay and bronze in the men’s 400 freestyle relay. He also swam 50 and 100 meter freestyle where he finished 12th and 5th.
2015 FINA World Championships
In Kazan, Dotto earned a bronze as part of Italy’s 400 freestyle relay. In his individual swims, 50 and 100 meter freestyle, he just missed out on a place in the semi-finals finishing 17th in both.
Becoming Italy’s First Swimmer Under 48
At the 2016 Italian Nationals and Olympic Trials, Dotto dipped under 48 seconds in the 100 meter freestyle for the first time in Italian history. His time 47.96 came as he lead off his team in the 400 meter freestyle relay. His time was the second fastest in the world so far in the Olympic year.
Road to Rio
Having already been selected for Rio, Dotto stopped off in London for the 2016 European Championships. He took his first individual senior gold medal with a win in the 100 meter freestyle. He also picked up silver in the 400 meter freestyle relay and a bronze in the 800 meter freestyle relay.
2017 SCM European Championships
Dotto had a successful meet in Copenhagen, Denmark as he won the 100 freestyle in 46.11. He also competed in three of Italy’s relays placing second in 4×50 medley and freestyle relays and third in 4×50 mixed freestyle relay.
2018 European Championships
In what would be known as one of Italy’s strongest European championships to date, Luca Dotto was a big contributor to Italy’s relay, helping the country win 2 of the 3 medals in relays that it did. First he led off Italy’s 4×100 free relay which touched in 2nd behind Russia. Then he swam on the prelims 4×100 mixed medley relay, which would go on to win bronze in finals. He also swam the 50, where he tied for 10th place in semis, and the 100 free, where he finished 5th overall.