At the recent Coppa Emilia Roma meet in Bologna, Martina Carraro swam a 1:06.43 in the 100m breaststroke, which hit Italy’s Olympic qualifying standard of 1:06.4 in this event. That time is also just off of her lifetime best of 1:06.36 which earned her the bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.
Although that time hit the Italian Olympic standard of 1:06.4, the Italian Swimming Federation requires a qualifying time to be swum at the Italian Absolute Spring Championships, meaning that Carraro is not yet qualified for the Italian Olympic team.
Additionally, there is currently only one spot open on the Italian Olympic roster in the women’s 100 breast, with 15-year old Benedetta Pilato having already qualified for her first Olympics after posting a new Italian national record of 1:06.02 at the Italian Championships back in December. At this time, the battle for the second spot appears to be between Carraro and Arianna Castiglioni.
Whoever hits the time at Absolute Championships will automatically qualify for Tokyo. If both hit the time at the meet, then whoever had the faster time will make the Olympic team. In the case that neither swimmer hits the standard, then Cesare Butini, the technical director, will intervene to close the roster after the Sette Colli Trophy.
Last week, at an Italian regional meet, Castiglioni swam a slightly slower time than Carraro of 1:06.55, but swam a lifetime best of 1:06.39 at 2019 Worlds, making her a strong contender for the Italian Olympic Team, along with Carraro. With Italian Trials coming up in three weeks, it appears that the final spot will go to either Carraro or Castiglioni.
Carraro told SwimSwam that the situation is incredibly exciting for her, adding (translated from Italian), “they are great challenges, I find great competition from both girls. I like this challenge. I will fight until the end…It’s about staying calm and I don’t have any pressure.”