Day one of the 2013 Sette Colli Trophy in Rome was a scorcher. Day two was still quality, but not the same explosive results. The tiebreaker on Saturday, the final day of the 50th edition of this meet, went more the way of the impressive, including a lifetime best from an Olympic Champion.
In the men’s 100 free, France’s Florent Manaudou swam a 48.41 in prelims followed by a 48.55 in finals. The previous pure-sprinter, who won the gold medal in London in the 50 free last year, had never flat-started better than 49.2 in this race (though a relay split earlier this year showed what he was clearly capable of). If Agnel gets back on track training with Bob Bowman, and Manaudou can continue to develop this 100 going toward Rio, it would be easy to see France repeat as Olympic Champions in the 400 free relay. Note that Manaudou was not a part of that relay last year.
The ageless Italian Filippo Magnini took 2nd in 48.71, which is easily his best time of the year, and Russian Sergey Fesikov was 3rd in 48.76. Dutch swimmer Sebastiaan Verschuren was 4th in 49.09, and the rest of the A-Final was rounded out with more Italians.
That race was followed by the women’s 200 free, where Manadou’s teammate Camille Muffat won in another New Championship Record of 1:56.01. She broke the meet marks in both this 200 and the 400 earlier, and though perhaps this swim wasn’t quite as impressive as its double from Thursday, it is still better than anyone aside from herself has been in 2013.
Sweden’s Michelle Coleman took 2nd in 1:57.22, which is the second best time of her carer. After failing to break two minutes for the first 18 years of her life, now at 19 she’s suddenly world-class in this 200 free. The Swedish women didn’t swim the 800 free relay at the Olympics, but with Coleman getting so good, and Sarah Sjostrom’s existing class in the race, it will be hard for them to not look for two more to fill that group out.
Another 19-year old, Italian Alice Mizzau, took 3rd in 1:57.91 with a solid last 50 to pull away from Netherlands’ Femke Heemskerk (1:58.33).
Muffat didn’t swim the 800 free, but Denmark’s Lotte Friis won in 8:27.39. That’s roughly three seconds better than the runner-up Martina de Memme of Italy in 8:31.18, which is her best time of the year as well as the fastest by any Italian woman.
Hungary’s Gergo Kis won the men’s 1500 in 15:05. After a huge flop in London, he’s back in the hunt for a minor medal in the men’s 1500 with that time, which is a more controlled in-season swim than what we saw from him last year (where he dipped down to 14:58 in late May). The young Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri looked strong as well with a mid-season 15:13.29.
More Olympic champions competing on the meet’s final day included Daniel Gyurta from Hungary in his preferred 200 meter breaststroke. He won the race in 2:10.25, beating out Italy’s Luca Pizzini (2:11.69) and Flavio Bizzarri (2:11.72). This was a classic Gyurta swim, as he didn’t really break away until the back-half of the race. He’s shown improved speed all year, both in his individual 100 meter race and in the front half of his 200’s, but this opening split (1:03.86) is one more along the lines of the kind of narrow spreads that he’s gone to so often at big championship meets.
Sweden’s Joline Hostman won the women’s 200 breaststroke in 2:24.90, winning comfortably wire-to-wire ahead of Italy’s Elise Celli (2:26.46).
Hungary’s Peter Bernek continued a strong meet by winning the men’s 200 back in 1:57.96, topping a lifetime best from Italy’s Christopher Cissarese of 1:58.89.
Federica Pellegrini, who has been questioned by many for dropping the 200 and 400 frees from her schedule this year, continues to look very good in the backstroke races. She won the women’s 200 back by about 6 meters, clocking a 2:08.60 that is just off of her season (and lifetime) bests. The runner-up was Ambra Esposito in 2:12.05.
After doubling up on Friday, Hungary’s Zsu Jakabos won another on Saturday with a fantastic 2:11.40 in the women’s 200 IM. Like her countrymate Katinka Hosszu, though perhaps to a slightly lesser extent, Jakabos is racing a lot this year, and it’s especially noticeable in this event where she’s now gone three of the four best times of her career in 2013.
Closing the meet was a titanic battle in the men’s 200 IM between Brazilian Thiago Pereira and Hungarian Laszlo Cseh. Cseh, unsurprisingly, took the lead out early, holding just shy of a full second margin at the halfway mark. Also predictably, Pereira took the lead away from him after the breaststroke leg.
Normally, just a three-tenths of a second gap on the freestyle leg would spell doom for Pereira, who’s typically not very good on this last leg – as compared to Cseh, who is a solid closer. But unlike at last year’s Olympics (Cseh was 3rd, Pereira was 4th), the Brazilian held on here for a win in 1:58.12, with Cseh 2nd in 1:58.32. That’s not Pereira’s best time of 2013, though it moves Cseh just barely into the World’s top 10.
In the lone sprint/stroke final of the last day, Nicholas dos Santos from Brazil, the favorite at the World Championships, won the men’s 50 fly in a new Meet Record of 23.27. The Ukraine’s Andrey Govorov was 2nd in 23.33, which is also under the old Meet Record set by Australian Geoff Huegill back in 2008. Completing a record run, Italy’s Piero Codia took down a four-year old National Record in the race with a 23,58, shaving .02 off of Paolo Facchinelli’s old record.
And in the women’s 50 fly, Dutch swimmer Ranomi Kromowidjojo added another win with a 25.95. She’s swimming very good 50 flys this year, though recall that she didn’t swim the event at Worlds in 2011 despite being similarly good in season. Her countrymate Inge Dekker was 2nd in 26.43, and the top Italian was Silvia Di Pietro in 3rd with a 26.99.