Gregorio Paltrinieri Changes Pattern in First LC 400 Down Under


  • Friday, January 12th – Sunday, January 14th
  • Melbourne Sports Aquatic Center (MSAC)
  • LCM
  • Prelims 9am local/Finals 6pm local
  • Meet Central
  • Psych Sheets

In their first battle of the 2018 Victorian Open Championships in Australia, new training partners Mack Horton and Gregorio Paltrinieri showed one thing for certain: in spite of a relatively high-level meet, both swimmers are quite broken down and in the midst of heavy training (confirmed by Horton in a post-race interview below).

Horton wound up out-dueling his Italian cohort in the 400 free 3:51.38 to 3:51.80. David McKeon almost played spoiler, finishing 3rd in 3:52.04.

Watch the last 75 meters of the race below (Horton in the white cap, Paltrinieri in the black cap, McKeon in the yellow cap closest to the camera). Paltrinieri’s stroke looks basically the same as it always has – unbalanced with a really flat, low-to-the-water recovery on his left arm.

Olympic champion @mackhorton powers home over the final 50m to score a narrow win in the 400m freestyle in 3:51.38 over fellow Rio Olympic golden boy Italy’s @greg_palt 3:51.80 and Rio finalist @davidmckeon 3:52.04 @swim_vic #vicswimchamps

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Paltrinieri hasn’t raced much in January in his career (2014 was the only year where he swam a January 400m free), but his performance in Victoria was actually better than it was that year. That’s significant for a couple of reasons. The first is that 2014 was the year where Europe was on the 2018, European-Championships-focus cycle. It was also the year where Paltrinieri swam his best-ever 400 free, in April at the Italian Championships, with a 3:48.41. He didn’t swim the event at that year’s European Championship, but Berlin wound up being a highlight meet of his career, where he swam his first sub-14:40 in the 1500 free (his pet event) and first sub-7:48 in his 800 free (all the way down to a 7:43).

Beyond that, the bigger question is how has the change in training impacted Paltrinieri? Is he swimming his races differently?

In early returns, there certainly appears to be a different strategy. Historically, Paltrinieri has followed a pretty consistent pattern in the 400 free – both at in-season meets, and at championship meets. Early in his career, that pattern was to push the first 50, back off until the 200 meter mark, then build back to the 400. As time has gone on. that pattern has evolved to see Paltrinieri push his first 50 pretty hard, and then back off on each 50 until the 300 mark. At that point, he historically would build a 50 and then hammer the last one.

Those patterns were pretty consistent – consistent enough to indicate a conscious plan.

This swim, however, was quite different. He still pushed his first 50, backed off on the 2nd 50, but then was basicallyeven for the next 300 yards before a much-less-pronounced kick on the last 50. His 50 splits on Friday were 27.15 – (29.12-29.26-29.26-29.24-29.41-29.61) – 28.75. The middle 300 was almost perfectly consistent.

We’ll need more data points to determine if this which pattern he winds up settling into, but it is an interesting shift in pattern.

For comparison sake, below see some by-100 splits from different meets throughout Paltrinieri’s career: 3 where his time was similar, and a 4th where he swam his best time.

2018 Victorian Champs 2016 Milano Trophy 2015 World Cup – Moscow 2014 Italian Championships 2013 Italian Championships
January 12, 2018 March 19th, 2016 August 11, 2015 April 10, 2014 April 11, 2013
3:51.80 3:51.20 3:51.59 3:48.41 (Best Time) 4:51.82
1st 100 56.27 55.83 56.06 55.73 56.54
2nd 100 58.52 58.41 58.81 58.52 59.21
3rd 100 58.87 59.32 59.22 58.02 58.62
4th 100 58.36 57.64 57.5 26.14 57.45


The two will travel to the coast now to swim the “Pier to Pub” open water swim. Hear more about the pair’s current training status from Horton below:

Olympic champion @mackhorton talks about his win in the 400m freestyle and his switch to the Open Water with good friend, training partner and fellow Olympic champ Italy’s @greg_palt in tomorrow’s Lorne Pier To Pub over 1.5km @lorneslsc @dolphinsaus

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Tea rex

Paltrinieri’s PR in the 400 is “only” 3:48??? I would expect much faster. He can take a 1500 out in 3:50.


Little of interest times wise from tonights finals.

Horton, in season, tends to “plod” and this is what played out. This distance is probably too short for Paltrineiri in any case.

McKeonE was 54.7 in W100fr, Chalmers and Cartwright were both 49mid in M100fr so nothing really to be gauged from that.

The only time of any particular significance was Hanson’s 1.07.02 W100brs; her PB is 1.06high so it will be interesting to see if this is matched or bettered next weekend at NSW and at Trials.

Thomas Selig

Kaylee McKeown also? 2:08:76 in the 200 back, and pipped Seebohm. Ok about 2 seconds off her best, but still a useful time in January.


Kaylee McKeown in a steady improvement’s path in my opinion.
Her and Ariarne Titmus’ results really to watch at next Aussie trials and then at CG (and, obviously towards Tokyo2020)


Good article about Greg. 1) About the workload in Australia, it’s certainly lighter than what Paltrinieri was used to do with coach Morini (and he confirmed that at SC EuroChamps talking with Morini), so every comparison with previous years is difficult. 2) Yes, Paltrinieri never swam a 400 free tapered in a big event, but I think that swimming a 3.45 wouldn’t be easy for him. He can hammer many, many laps below 30″ (his ideal distance would be the 5 km) , but swimming in the 28″ low range is still complicated for him (differently than Detti). 3) Before the insertion of 800 free, Platrinieri was aiming to 1500 free and 10 km for Tokyo2020. Now his Olympic plan… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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