In a press conference on Monday in Naples, Italy, it was announced that Federica Pellegrini will return for a third season of racing within the International Swimming League and will serve as team captain of the Italy-based Aqua Centurions.
While she announced that she will be in attendance for the 2021 ISL season, she added that it will be the final venture of her swimming career.
“I have already put my body and mind through the stress of arriving in Tokyo after a one-year delay. I can go on a few more weeks after the Olympics. Not more than” said Pellegrini.
Watch the press conference here:
This appears to be the “surprise swimmer” that ISL has been teasing since they announced the pool of eligible swimmers a week ago. While not necessarily a surprise, as she has participated in the last 2 ISL seasons as Aqua’s captain, the press conference probably serves an important function of affiliating Italy’s most popular swimming entity, Pellegrini, with the league that will be hosted there.
Pellegrini has been racing at the highest level of the sport for more than a decade and has been one of the most consistent forces on the international scene in the 200 freestyle that the sport has ever seen. Pellegrini broke the women’s 200 freestyle world record back in 2009 with a 1:52.98 and has reached the podium in the event at 8 straight World Championships as well as at 2 Olympic Games.
Pellegrini only raced in one meet last season for the last-place Aqua Centurions because of a positive COVID test before she was scheduled to depart for the bubble.
Federica Pellegrini Medal Record, Long Course Women’s 200 Freestyle
- 2004 Olympic Games – Silver
- 2005 World Championships – Silver
- 2007 World Championships – Bronze
- 2008 Olympic Games – Gold
- 2009 World Championships – Gold
- 2011 World Championships – Gold
- 2013 World Championships – Silver
- 2015 World Championships – Silver
- 2017 World Championships – Gold
- 2019 World Championships – Gold
Pellegrini has qualified to race at her 5th straight Olympic Games this summer and will race her signature 200 freestyle for Italy. Pellegrini will enter as defending world champion in the event this summer at her last major international long course meet. Pellegrini will need to watch out for Australian record holder Ariarne Titmus who won silver in 2019 and recently posted a 1:53.09 at the 2021 Australian Olympic Trials to get within striking distance of Pellegrini’s world record.
Pellegrini has swum for the Aqua Centurions during both the 2019 and 2020 seasons of the ISL and, placing 114th overall during season 1 and 261st overall during season 2.