Italian superstar swimmer Federica Pellegrini has tested negative for coronavirus and is expected to join her team in Budapest, Hungary ahead of their final match of the 2020 International Swimming League season.
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Pellegrini, the two-time defending World Champion in the 200 free, announced a positive test for the novel coronavirus on October 14 after showing symptoms during a workout. While most of her team had already arrived in Budapest for the meet by the time of her announcement, she had not yet departed.
She was one of at least two members of her training group at the Federal training center in Verona, Italy, along with fellow Aqua swimmer Stefania Pirozzi. They both train under coach Matteo Giunta, the head coach of Aqua Centurions, who has apparently not tested positive based on his presence on deck at Aqua’s first two ISL meets.
Other members of that training group have also tested positive.
Pirozzi’s quarantine period is set to expire on Friday, but she tested positive earlier this week, so will still have to clear medical protocols before being allowed to join the ISL bubble.
Sources tell SwimSwam that, presuming everything progresses as expected, Pellegrini will depart for the ISL ‘bubble’ in Budapest on November 4.
Because Aqua Centurions don’t have a match that weekend, that means Pellegrini will arrive 5 days ahead of the team’s season finale. That finale will see them face league-toppers Cali Condors, along with the London Roar and LA Current. Cali Condors and LA Current are expected to make the ISL finale at the end of November, while London Roar and Tokyo Frog Kings are the likely teams to join them, depending on how the ISL structures the semi-finals (which has still not been announced).
Aqua have finished in 4th place out of 4 teams at each of their 2 matches so far this season. With the New York Breakers finishing 3rd in their week 2 matchup, that means Aqua is the only team that has not finished better than last place in ISL history.
While the Aqua Centurions men have showed promise, the Aqua Centurions women have struggled after losing a number of their best swimmers early in the season. The Aqua Centurions women have scored only 169 points through 2 matches. That is fewer points than any other women’s team has scored in the league this season, including Tokyo and Toronto, which have only raced 1 match.
While Pellegrini will almost certainly help in that cause, she probably alone isn’t enough to pull Aqua out of last place. At her best meet last season, the team’s finale in London, she finished 3rd in the 200 free and 2nd in the 400 free for 13 individual points. She also split 52.5 and 52.4 in a pair of free relay swims, which could have boosted Aqua by a handful of points in their last match.
She probably could have made around a 25 point impact for Aqua at her best, replacing last-place Larissa Oliveira in the 200 free and last-place Kathryn Greenslade in the 400 free. Pellegrini’s best times from last season’s ISL would ahve won both of those races for Aqua in week 2. But with the team 141 points behind 3rd-place Toronto in their last match, and facing 3 of the stronger teams in the league in the match Pellegrini is expected to attend, she’s probably not going to be able to do enough to improve their 4th-place standing.
She could, and likely would, have been enough to push Aqua past DC Trident in their opener, however – just a 6 point gap.
At least one other ISL swimmer, Femke Heemskerk, tested positive prior to departing for Budapest. 8 days later she tested negative and she flew out for Budapest 2 days after that on October 21.