Muffat Swims World Best 400 Free Again, Manaudou Beats Bousquet in 50

The 2013 edition of the Sette Colli Trophy is the 50th swimming of this spectacular and historic meet, and in honor of that the stars have come out in force from Europe and beyond, and they’ve put together some pretty spectacular swimming. There wasn’t a single dull race on the first day of the meet Thursday, and several Championship Records went down.

The most loaded field of the meet was the 400 free, which featured swimmers from three different countries. The defending Olympic Champion Camille Muffat won in 4:02.64, which is a new Meet Record and the world”s fastest time (bettering her time from last weekend in Monaco that was also 4:02). She closed in 29.4 to really break open a lead over teammate Coralie Balmy, who trailed in 4:05.73 – with about half of that margin coming over the final 50 meters. Balmy now ranks 6th in the world this year.

The home-country favorite, and World Record holder, Federica Pellegrini took 3rd in 4:07.37. She’s committed to focusing on the backstroke races at this year’s World Championships after two straight year of disappointing global performances in the mid-distance free, but hasn’t totally give up this 400. Denmark’s Lotte Friis took 4th in 4:08.13, and Hungary’s Zsu Jakabos was 5th in 4:09.48. The entire, stunningly-deep A-Final was under 4:11, including 16-year old Diletta Carli in 4:10.98.

Another Championship Record went down at the hands of another Frenchman, Camille Lacourt, who ran away with the 50 backstroke in 24.68. That took down the 2008 record held by American Randall Bal. Italy had a good showing in this event as well, as Stefano Pizzamiglio took 2nd in 25.20, just missing his lifetime best, and 18-year old Niccolo Bonacchi was 3rd in 25.24, which was a lifetime best.

In the 50 free, one more victory went to an Olympic Champion as France’s Florent Manaudou won in 21.80, followed by his brother-in-law Fred Bousquet in 21.94. Manaudou’s time was a new Championship Record, breaking a 2008 swim by Aussie Eamon Sullivan.

The Ukraine’s Andrey Govorov, who’s now training with the ADN Swim Project, was 3rd in 22.17, and the top Italian was Luca Dotto in 22.225. Marco Orsi was a bit off, taking 6th in 22.44.

And the women’s 50 free was a veritable Dutch intrasquad, with Olympic champion Ranomi Kromowidjojo winning in 24.41, followed by her teammate Inge Dekker (25.12) and Femke Heemskerk (25.29). Kromowidjojo was a bit faster at this meet last year, though remember she’s under a new coach this season.

Silvia di Pietro took 4th in 25.45, and some youth out of the Italian ranks as 15-year old Giorgia Biondani was 7th in 25.79.

The Italians won plenty of races in their home pool in Rome as well; that includes Arianna Barbieri in the women’s version of that 50 back twith a 28.44. That beat the National Record holder Elena Gemo (28.68) and was within two tenths of Gemo’s all-time best mark as well.

Other Italian success on the women’s side came from Ilaria Bianchi in the 100 fly with a 58.49, holding off Hungarians Evelyn Verraszto and Zsu Jakabos who tied for 2nd in 59.04. A third Hungarian, 16-year old Lilian Szilagyi, was 4th overall in 59.10.

Bianchi had a huge taper last year to crush the Italian National Record in this event, so if she can repeat that success this year, she could be a medal contender in Barcelona.

The women’s 100 breaststroke saw a pretty significant upset, as Italy’s Michela Guzzetti took a tenth off of her lifetime best to win in 1:08.12. Giulia de Ascentis took 2nd in 1:08.51, and the Netherlands’ Moniek Nijhuis, who is having a career year, was 3rd in 1:08.82.

The men’s 400 free final was not quite to the level of the women’s, though it was still a great race about 6 weeks out of the World Championships. Italy’s Samuel Pizzetti beat out his countrymate Andrea D’Arrigo 3:49.14-3:49.94, with again almost all of that margin coming in the final 50 meters. Pizzetti led the race wire-to-wire, but the pair was in nearly a dead heat going into the last turn.

France’s Damien Joly was 3rd in 3:52.06, winning his own mini-battle with Hungary’s Peter Bernek, who took 4th in 3:52.95.

In the men’s 100 breaststroke, Italy’s Fabio Scozzoli looks like he’s rounding into summer championship form, as he put up a 59.95 to win the race and break Cameron van der Burgh’s 2011 Championship Record. Scozzoli is one of only two swimmers globally to have broken a minute this year (this is his second time under; Christian Sprenger, the world leader, has done it four times.)

Andrea Toniato was 2nd in 1:00.52, and France’s Giacomo Perez-Dortona took another step in his rapid and recent progression with a 1:00.61 that’s just .02 away from his time from the Olympics last summer.

Hungarian Daniel Gyurta, the 200 breast Olympic Champion who has made huge progress in his 100 this year maybe took another step forward as well, as he was 4th in 1:00.84 – a full second better than he was exactly one year ago.

The men’s 100 fly final saw three swimmers under 53 seconds, and home-field advantage again played out for a bit of an upset. Matteo Rivolta, the Italian Record holder, won in 52.72, with Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh taking 2nd in 52.80 and Russia’s Evgeny Korotyshkin placing 3rd in 52.85.

Closing the day in the non-Olympic distance races, Hungary’s Gergo Kis won the men’s 800 in 7:54.89, followed by Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri in 7:58.19

This battle between the two was reminiscent of the same one they had at last year’s World Championships. Paltrinieri actually went into the last 100 meters with a lead if you can believe it, and even though he had a good closing split, Kis’ lethal closing speed saw him finish in a 54.2 to make the race appear as a blowout.

The women’s 1500 free went to the defending World Champion Friis in 16:05.62, giving her now two of the three fastest times in the world this year. Italy’s Martina Rita Caramignoli was 2nd in 16:11.68, which puts her 9th overall in 2013.

Full, live meet results available here.

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Philip Johnson
8 years ago

So Pellegrini isn’t swimming the freestyles this summer?

Reply to  bobo gigi
8 years ago

Yes, Federica this year is focusing on 200 BK and 800 relay. I’m very glad with her performance today ’cause if we compare the same event she swam last year in Rome-and 400 FR was a big card she tried to play in London-she went 4:06. I mean,the biggest mistake she made last year was the split with Lucas because of the love story with Magnini. This year I can say she’s definitely back, and cannot be happier as a fun of her.

Reply to  PAOLO
8 years ago

Pellegrini should concentrate on what she is best at. 🙂 Maybe this gap year from freestyle is what she need for but why not give it a try? No pressure nor expectations, just having fun. There is no easy life in 200m backstroke either which is the world of unbeatable Franklin. Nevertheless, I am still expecting an impressive performance from her in relay.

Philip Johnson
Reply to  PAOLO
8 years ago

that’s a shame. Freestyle is Pellegrini’s bread and butter stroke so I’m not quite sure why she’s making such a drastic change. the 200 back, i don’t see her winning the medal. the 800 relay, Italy doesn’t have the depth. Just two years ago she swam a 4:01 400. maybe she’s not as dominant in the 200 anymore, but I still think she can still put up some good times. I don’t get it!

Reply to  Philip Johnson
8 years ago

Wait, I’m just talkin’ about 2013 season, next year she’ll be back to her usual races 😉

Philip Johnson
Reply to  PAOLO
8 years ago

even if it’s just for a year, why? what other Olympic gold medalist, world record holder in the event swimmer has ever abandoned their stroke in their prime? it just doesn’t make sense.

Reply to  PAOLO
8 years ago

One more note about Pellegrini’s freestyle performance. Her 4:07 came by training only once a day.

“”This was a test to evaluate my potential in freestyle. Last year, in preparation for the Olympics here in Rome, I had performed the 400 freestyle in 4’06”. The time is satisfying because it shows that I am still quite competitive even though I am training once a day. I’m working really well. I really trust my coach”

Okay, this puts some restrictions what would be achievable in 400m. Her old endurance is carrying her for now but eventually she must be back into pool. No one, even a talent like Pellegrini, will be competitive in the long term with training only once… Read more »

Reply to  SwimFanFinland
8 years ago


I think she needed to keep on training hard to feel phisically read for next years preparation, but also to “rest” mentally after 8 years at a very high level. I mean, she’s having fun this year, I can’t blame her choice.

bobo gigi
8 years ago

Wow! The French swimmers have shined!

8 years ago

European and Asian swimmers are posting great times this year… it will be interesting to see how the US World Trials pan out… will USA be able to produce this year?

Reply to  WHOKNOWS
8 years ago

I don’t think the US will be as dominant as earlier, but i think all of the depth and talent US will produce many medals in Barcelona.

8 years ago

Pellegrini gave some positive comments on her freestyle to Italian press after the heats. Her confidence in freestyle is coming back.

Zsuzsanna Jakabos has surreptitiously posted a couple of impressive times so far this season. For instance both of her times today are better than corresponding results by Hosszu this season. Let´s remember Hosszu was almost always a one step ahead in the World Cup series. The 400 medley is tomorrow. I believe a storm warning, that is a new world best, is coming.

I’m absolutely sure USA will be able to produce this year. Probably a slight hangover from the absence of Phelps but not anything serious that would prevent USA from being first in the medal table.

8 years ago

Mrs.Consistency Trophy for Muffat.Amazing….

A Curiosity: Nicholas Dos Santos(Brazil) was 8th in 50 free with 23.28 swimming FLY.

8 years ago

Pellegrini was still really great in 2011, winning 200-400 in Shanghai.

In 2012, I think she was demoralised by Muffat’s display of astonishing speed in early 2012 when Muffat seemingly able to play with how she swam races and yet turning out 1:54 and 4:01 again and again and again.

Reply to  aswimfan
8 years ago

Pellegrini is not a child, she’s an Olympic and quadruple World champion. I don’t know know what caused her mediocre results in 2012, but your assessment makes her seem inexperienced and weak-willed. It could have been due to any number of factors – stress, exhaustion, illness, injury, boyfriend; whatever. Pellegrini has won a lot of races, but fast competitors and losing races isn’t exactly new to her either. I’m not saying you’re certainly wrong, but it seems strange to base the dip in performance on something so trivial and indirect.

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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