Federica Pellegrini has gotten more notoriety for her 400 free battle with Rebecca Adlington in recent weeks. But the 200 free is the race where she’s earned both of her Olympic medals, and where she easily won the 2010 “Virtual” World Championship. Early on this season, however, some great times have been put up around the country (specifically from the Australians) that look to challenge her throne. On the 4th day of competition in Italy, Pellegrini kicked off the day with this 200 free in a solid 1:56.98 that ranks her 7th in the world this year. This is, however, about 7-tenths off of where she was at this point last year, which might be a result of her new training grounds in France with Felippe Lucas.
On the men’s side, Luca Dotto had another fantastic swim, this time for a win in the 50 free. He took the win there in 22.04, the 5th-best time in the world this year, ahead of a 22.26 from Marco Orsi. Orsi’s time also puts him in the top 10 in the world (at 10th), which grows the excitement surrounding this Italian sprint group.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Samuel Pizzetti put his foot on the floor from the very start of the race, and crushed the competition to win in 14:56.47. This is his third distance-title of the meet, and matches his 800 free as the second-best time in the world this year. As further indication of how fast Sun Yang’s times were at Chinese Nationals, there’s still a 14-second gap between him and Pizzetti.
Federico Turrini also stamped his ticket to Shanghai with a 2:00.54 win in the men’s 200 IM. He has a fantastic backstroke leg to his IM, but needs a little work on his breaststroke to compete for a final at the World Championships.
The only other World Championships qualifiers on the 4th day of competition were in the women’s 50 backstroke. This race resulted in a bit of an upset, as Arianna Barbieri swam a 28.70 to clip 100m champ and 50m National Record holder Elena Gemo (28.87). This time by Barbieri is her best on the season by a touch, and ranks her 22nd in the world this year. The 50 backstroke world rankings are incredibly tight though, and this leaves her about a tenth away from a Shanghai semi-final, and only about 4-tenths away from a potential final.
In the day’s other individual event, Chiara Boggiatto won the women’s 50 breastsroke in 32.06, ahead of teenager Erica Donadon in 32.35.
In medley relay action, 100m champion Mattia Pesce split a 59.99 for the 5th-place Forum Sport Center, and Michele Santucci is another great young Italian sprinter with a 48.20 for 2nd-place Larus Nuoto.