It was announced today that Federica Pellegrini will move on to a new coach for the eighth time in her career. Pellegrini, who won gold in the 200 freestyle at the European Championships, will be leaving coach Philippe Lucas to join forces with Matteo Giunta.
Pellegrini announced her decision on Twitter, along with expressing affection for Lucas:
I cambi di percorso fanno parte della vita ma le cose belle come la stima e l’affetto per una persona rimarranno per sempre! #graziePhilippe
— Federica Pellegrini (@mafaldina88) September 16, 2014
Which roughly translated states:
The path changes are part of life but the good things like the esteem and affection for one person will remain forever! thanks Philippe
It appears one of the biggest reasons the two decided to split was that Pellegrini wants to focus strictly on the 200 freestyle and drop the 400 freestyle from her program. She has had success in the 400 freestyle in the past, winning the World Championships in both 2009 and 2011 along with setting the world record in 2008 and twice in 2009. Despite that success she has had disappointing results at the Olympic Games, finishing fifth in 2008 and 2012.
On the other hand she collected silver in the 200 freestyle at the 2004 Olympics along with gold at the 2008 Olympics. She did have a disappointing result in 2012 finishing fifth in London.
After the 2012 Olympics Pellegrini had decided to take a break from the freestyle events and focus on her backstroke, a decision that she reversed at the 2013 Italian World Championship Trials where she won the 200 freestyle, going on to win the silver at the World Championships in Barcelona.
After meeting with both Lucas and Guinta the three made the decision that the move would be the best for the swimmer, “Sorry to have arrived at this conclusion, because I love Philippe as a person and as a coach, but the best thing is that we are confident that both our friendship will not end with this change of course which is aimed at preparing on the 200 freestyle.“
Lucas added that he agreed with the decision and that he would always be willing to help Pellegrini, “We did not encounter any problems in arriving at this solution,” said Lucas.
“I respect Federica as an athlete and as a person. If in the future should she still need me, my door will always be open.”