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.