Gabrielle Detti won bronze medals in the men’s 400 and 1500 meter freestyles at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, finishing behind fellow countryman Gregorio Paltrinieri who took gold in the 1500. As Detti fought through the turbulent waters against the best swimmers in the world in Rio, no one was cheering harder than Stefania Pirozzi, his long-time girlfriend and fellow Italian Olympic swimmer. Though she was not on the Italian roster for Rio, Pirozzi represented Italy in the 2012 London Olympic Games where she swam the 400 IM, though did not advance to the final.
This mini-documentary titled “It All Started in a Pool” is the latest installment in the Olympic YouTube Channel’s “It Takes Two” series, which follows couples from multiple sports that have were brought together through their sports. In this episode viewers learn about Detti and Pirozzi’s history together, in swimming, and where they think they’ll be in the future.
Viewers learn that when Pirozzi was two-years-old her rubber inner tube flipped over and she almost drown, traumatizing her enough that she “preferred not to swim.” For a while Pirozzi dedicated herself to dance, but eventually her father “dragged her” back into swimming and she quickly fell in love with the sport. Detti’s first encounter with the pool was much more joyous, as he recalls being thrown in, going under completely, but resurfacing, laughing.
Viewers are also given a glimpse of how the two view one another’s strokes. Pirozzi recommends that Detti speed up his flipturns in order to improve his 400 meter free; Detti recognizes that the turns in his 400 free in Rio could have been better, but because it was his first Olympic final and he was a bit nervous, he doesn’t dwell on it. Detti remarks on how Pirozzi could improve the breaststroke leg of her 400 IM, and she states that she knows this already. Pirozzi, thinking on her breaststroke, nonchalantly replies “c’est la vie.”
Viewers learn that the pair met in 2013 when Pirozzi moved to the Federal Centre in Ostia, but it was far from “love at first sight.” In fact, as Pirozzi recalls, she found Detti “very smug” the first time they met. Detti states that they met in the water and that they were training partners. For Detti, he thought it was best to talk to Pirozzi during practice, lest they get bored. Pirozzi recalls how Detti was very supportive of her when she had a “bad period” with her ex-boyfried, signifying a point in time when they became close.
After three years of training with Detti at the Federal Centre, Pirozzi decided to switch and go to Livorno, hoping to encounter new training methods. Personally, Detti loved having Pirozzi around in Ostia, but he understands why she had to make a change and doesn’t hold the decision against her. Now that the two only really see each other on the weekends, Pirozzi feels that each time they see one another is much more special.
The two muse on what might become of their relationship after the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Detti says “we’ll do something together…. A little house… a bunch of kids,” but Pirozzi stops him right there, telling him that they’ll only have two kids.
Finally, Detti asks Pirozzi who she thinks would win in a race, her or him. Of course, she thinks she would win.