Pellegrini Has Been Racing At Geneva Int’l Challenge Since Age 14


The 54th Geneva International Challenge rolled on here on day 2, with more meet records biting the dust across both the men’s and women’s events.

We published separate posts about Nicolo Martinenghi of Italy and Roman Mityukov of the host nation of Switzerland. The former hit a near-lifetime best in the men’s 50m breaststroke for a new meet mark, while the latter registering a new Swiss national record en route to a meet standard in the men’s 200m back.

In other races, Italian Olympic icon Federica Pellegrini got it done for gold in the women’s 100m free. Stopping the clock in a time of 55.35, the versatile 32-year-old got to the wall .18 ahead of runner-up Marrit Steenbergen. Steenbergen of the Netherlands registered a time of 55.53 while her countrymate Kira Toussaint rounded out the top 3 in 55.74.

As a testament to her longevity, Pellegrini actually owns the Geneva International Challenge meet record for juniors with her time of 56.32. She produced that time way back in 2004 and is now still competing (and winning) 17 years later.

Looking at Pellegrini’s history, it appears she first swam at this Geneva International Challenge back in January of 2003 when she was just 14 years of age.

Slovakian swimmer Nikoleta Trnikova was the top women’s 200m breaststroke tonight. The 18-year-old logged a time of 2:28.51 to produce a new meet record en route to gold, overtaking her own morning mark of 2:28.93. Her result tonight sits within a second of her lifetime best and national record of 2:27.96 from when she placed 7th at the 2019 FINA World Junior Championships.

Jeremy Desplanches registered a solid swim to win the men’s 200m IM. He checked in with a gold medal-worthy time of 1:58.77 as the only sub-2:00 swimmer of the field. That overtook his own meet record of 1:58.98 from last year.

Desplanches ranks as the 5th fastest performer already this season with his 1:57.76 time from last December. He is the reigning World Championships silver medalist with his lifetime best and Swiss national record of 1:56.56 from 2019 in Gwangju.

The World Record holder in the short course version of the 50m backstroke, Toussaint, won her signature event tonight after she raced the 100m free already in the session. Toussaint took the 50m back in a time of 28.05, sneaking to the wall just .04 ahead of Dutch teammate Maaike de Waard who settled for silver in 28.09.

Toussaint was actually quicker in the morning heats, producing a swim of 27.86 to hit a new meet record. Her lifetime best rests at the 27.37 Dutch national record she scored just last December in Rotterdam.

Frenchman Maxime Grousset proved to be the fastest in the men’s 50m freestyle with his winning effort of 22.27. That was enough to beat out a pair of Dutchmen in Kenzo Simons and Nyls Korstanje who touched in 22.46 and 22.62 for silver and bronze, respectively.

Korstanje was the quickest of the prelims with a time of 22.34 to set a new meet record, which Grousset overtook with his 22.27 tonight.

For the women, it was Algeria’s Amel Melih who got the job done for gold in a time of 26.04. That edged out Pellegrini by just .01 while Dutch swimmer Kim Busch also landed on the podium in 26.49 for bronze.

Of note, Busch was much quicker in the morning, leading the women in a heats swim of 24.91. That effort was within striking distance of her own personal best of 24.75 which she put up just this past December at the Rotterdam meet.

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3 months ago


About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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