Gastaldello had been training with the pro group at Texas A&M, where she swam as an undergrad, but said last week that she was moving on.
As for her new partnership with Stickels, it’s not yet clear where exactly Gastaldello will be training. Stickels was the head coach of the University of Alabama’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving program for 18 months before resigning mid-season in 2020. He then focused on training individual athletes for the Tokyo Olympics and has been on staff with the Tokyo Frog Kings as head assistant coach under Dave Salo during the current ISL season.
The 26-year-old Gastaldello is a versatile sprinter, specializing in free, backstroke and butterfly. As far as major international hardware goes, she has a bronze medal from the 4×100 free relay at the 2019 World Championships, two long course European Championships gold medals from the women’s and mixed 4×100 free relays in 2018, and seven short course European Championships medals. She owns three individual silver medals from short course Euros in the 100 free, 50 fly and 50 back, all from the 2018 competition.
Gastaldello made her Olympic debut in 2016, competing in the 100 free, 100 fly, 4×100 free and medley relays, finishing as high as seventh in the free relay. She raced in the 100 back and 4×100 free relay in Tokyo.
The 2020 International Swimming League season proved to be a huge opportunity for Gastaldello, who finished third overall individually while representing the LA Current. She amassed 20 individual victories over six matches and six different events — the 50 free, 100 free, 50 back, 50 fly, 100 fly and 100 IM. Gastaldello is the No. 9-ranked swimmer overall in the league so far this season.
Gastaldello’s French national records are in the short course 100 free, 50 back and 100 IM as well at the women’s and mixed 4×50 free relays. At A&M, she was the SEC Female Freshman of the Year in 2015 and went on to earn multiple top-five finishes individual at NCAAs.