Gregorio Paltrinieri Swims 2nd-Fastest 1500 Free of All-Time in London


  • Monday, May 16th – Sunday, May 22nd
  • Prelims: 10:00 AM (London Time) / 5:00 AM (Eastern Time)
  • Finals: 6:00 PM (London Time) / 1:00 PM (Eastern Time)
  • London Aquatics Center, London, UK
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Italian distance swimmer Gregorio Paltrinieri, the heir to the world distance ground that has been occupied trepidly by China’s Sun Yang for the last 6 years, has broken the European Record in the men’s 1500 long course meter freestyle with a 14:34.04.

Swimming on day 3 of the 2016 European Aquatics Championships, Paltrinieri improved upon his own 14:39.67 that had been both the Italian and European Records. His latest swim is now the 2nd-fastest of all-time, trailing only Sun Yang’s World Record from the 2012 Olympics.

10 fastest 1500 LCM freestyles in history:

  1. Sun Yang, 14:31.02, 2012
  2. Gregorio Paltrinieri, 14:34.04, 2016
  3. Sun Yang, 14:34.14, 2011
  4. Grant Hackett, 14:34.56, 2001
  5. Sun Yang, 14:35.43, 2010
  6. Ous Mellouli, 14:37.28, 2009
  7. Ous Mellouli, 14:38.01, 2009
  8. Grant Hackett, 14:38.92, 2008
  9. Mack Horton, 14:39.53, 2016
  10. Ryan Cochrane, 14:39.63, 2012

Paltrinieri swam matching 14:39s to finish both his 2014 and 2015 seasons, and earlier this year in March swam a 14:40. His swim at the Italian Olympic Trials was off those best, in 14:42.91, but another huge surge forward on Wednesday marks the single biggest improvement upon his lifetime best in this event as an elite.

The difference between this race and the last one is that while he didn’t start nearly as fast, at every point where his splits fell off at Worlds, his splits either didn’t fall off, or fell off to a much lesser degree, at Europeans. Those spots have been bolded below at the 300 meter and 900 meter marks.

2015 World Championships 2016 European Championships
Splits Splits
100 55.92 56.72
200 58.26 58.33
300 58.43 58.50
400 58.85 58.47
500 58.93 58.46
600 58.68 58.48
700 58.93 58.58
800 58.85 58.70
900 59.17 58.76
1000 59.17 58.62
1100 59.37 58.47
1200 59.14 58.48
1300 59.22 58.40
1400 59.32 58.48
1500 57.43 56.69
14:39.67 14:34.04

Twice in his swim, Paltrinieri matched his 50 splits identically. 9 times, he split within a tenth of a second on back-to-back 100s.

Paltrinieri’s countrymate and training partner Gabrielle Detti took the silver medal in 14:48.75, which is two seconds short of his own lifetime best. Detti ranks 17th on the list of all-time performers in this event,

Sun Yang hasn’t been faster than 14:41 since the 2012 Olympics, which leaves Australian 20-year old Mack Horton as the only likely candidate to be able to match Paltrinieri in Rio. Horton swam a 14:39 at Australia’s Olympic Trials, and being 2 years younger than Paltrinieri, and with a bigger gap since his last rested meet, he could sneak up and catch the Italian.

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Swimmer A

Good god….. I could not imagine trying to hold that pace. It’s insane when you stop to think about it.

Sun shouldn’t be swimming in Rio but since he is, I hope Paltrinieri beats the bathing suit off of that cheater.


Absolutely incredible performance. As a Canadian, I’m getting worried Cochrane might miss the podium!

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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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