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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6 years ago

She is a phenomenal competitor. Giving Ledecky a good thrashing in the pool puts her in a very small club. I think that her WR will stand for at least another few years, and be one of the last suit records to go.

6 years ago

It’s not going to feel right watching 200 free finals without Federica. My first Olympics was 2004, so she has been a huge part of every worlds/Olympics I’ve experienced. The best fairy-tales are those none of us see coming, and my god she caught us all off guard… again. I hope she realises there will not be a more popular victory at Worlds – I think all of us smiled as she came roaring home one last time.

Enjoy putting the fear of god into the sprinters now!

6 years ago

She earned it!!!!
Congrats to her!

6 years ago

I don’t know if I’d call it a major upset …

6 years ago

Pellegrini clocked the 100 at 53.18 last year off a 25.9 start so I think she has a shot to do some pretty good things there. She will be in the thick of things, but on the other hand that has been the case for her in the 200 for a long time aswell. I would be excited to see her try the 100, certainly better than retiring!

Reply to  Joe
6 years ago

And by trying I don’t mean she hasn’t done it before, but as the main focus.

Peter L
6 years ago

She can go a 2:07 200 back easily I think. Laure Manaudou vibes?

PK Doesn\'t Like His Long Name
6 years ago

Honestly, this is kind of neat.

Tom from Chicago
6 years ago

Great career. Best of luck.

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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