Pellegrini Splits With Lucas to Join Forces with Giunta

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:


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.”

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6 years ago

I really don’t understand this passage: “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” (don’t worry SwimSwam, I know you are not the source of this rumor, it’s been repeated all over the Italian media). What does it mean, that Lucas coaches the whole package or nothing? Like, you either swim both the 400 and the 200 or I won’t coach you at all? 😀

6 years ago

There is no questioning Pellegrini’s talent, but one of the secrets to success in swimming in consistency! Ask Katie Ledecky who can repeat 100’s of freestyle with ridiculous accuracy. Ask Phelps who’s been with the same coach since he was 11, which allowed the kind of long-term planning necessary to make history in 2008. Eight coaches in a career is a large number. If you change so often, it’s hard to compare one year to the last and hard for a coach to know what works best for you. In this case, apparently the break was on good terms, but one wonders if some of those changes were to blame a coach for lack of progress. I hope she’s honestly… Read more »

Reply to  Danjohnrob
6 years ago

She never got over Castagnetti’s death. He was like a father to her (she said so herself a number of times). Lucas was the next best thing because he is a tough guy with a very strong personality. But she would never move permanently to France, and he would never move permanently to Italy.

6 years ago

I guess I don’t know the full story then. As I said, I wish Federica well! Frankly, I wonder how much Bowman is a father figure for Phelps. He seems to depend upon him a great deal.

Reply to  Danjohnrob
6 years ago

I beleive it’s the actual case ! if it works , and it is , than results have shown it’s efficiency .

About Jeff Grace

Jeff Grace

Jeff is a 500 hour registered yoga teacher who holds diplomas in Coaching (Douglas College) and High Performance Coaching (National Coaching Institute - Calgary). He has a background of over 20 years in the coaching profession, where he has used a unique and proven teaching methodology to help many achieve their …

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