Pellegrini Going Out On Top, Retiring From 200 Free After Worlds Gold


Following her major upset of Olympic champ Katie Ledecky, Italian superstar and world record-holder Federica Pellegrini says she won’t be contesting the 200 free at the world level any longer.

The news comes direct from Pellegrini in a post-race interview from the deck. You can watch the interview below, in its original Italian:

“These were my last three 200 freestyles,” Pellegrini says, in a rough translation of the Italian. The interviewer asks for clarification, and Pellegrini goes on to say that she’s “taking another path,” and doesn’t plan to swim the 200 again in major international competition.

Pellegrini has been a mainstay in this event for more than a decade. She’s won a medal in the 200 free at a record-setting 7 consecutive World Championships, including golds in 2009, 2011 and 2017. She set a world record in 2009 that still stands today. The run began in 2005, when Pellegrini took silver, followed by bronze in 2007, golds in 2009 and 2011 and silvers in 2013 and 2015 before her win on Wednesday in Budapest.

Pellegrini turns 29 next weekend. She’d be 31 by the time the 200 free rolled around in 2019, if she hoped to win an 8th-straight World Champs medal, and she’d be celebrating her 32nd birthday in the midst of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – a pretty late age to be contesting events as taxing training-wise as the 200 free, though a move down to shorter events could be plausible if Pellegrini wants to keep competing.

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So…what’s she going to swim?


100/400 maybe? She had a pretty good back also.


Definitely not the 400.


She hasn’t swam that in long course since 2012, and short course since 2013


She said she has a lot of fun doing the 100 free, therefore she will train as a sprinter


100 free are her “first love”. She was in the italian 4×100 free relay at Barcelona 2003 and she was selected for Athens 2004 cause of your 100 free (under 55 at 16) and then she won the silver medal in the 200 free.


She’s a good 200 backstroker as well don’t forget.


This was probably happening either way


There is a possibility that she changes her mind. It is clear from the interview that she had already decided this but at the same time did not expect to win gold. So it’s not like she decided “I am quitting while I am still on top”.This unexpected victory could give her motivation to do the last Olympic cycle. It’s of course hard when you are 29 and have been doing this for ever and your body has taken the toll.


Nah… She knows she can’t approach her world record anymore, and that Ledecky and other younger swimmers are the only ones who have a shot. She won her last gold in the event, and most likely is happy to keep swimming some shorter events.


She said she’s at peace now… Doesn’t sound like someone motivated to do it again at 32.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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