Pellegrini Wins Record Eighth Straight World Medal In 200 Free

2019 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

Two years ago in Budapest, Federica Pellegrini made history by becoming the first swimmer to win a medal in the same event at seven consecutive World Championships.

The Italian world record holder surprised the likes of Katie Ledecky and Emma McKeon to come from behind and win the gold in the women’s 200 freestyle in a time of 1:54.73, giving her a third gold during her streak of seven podium finishes.

After the swim, the now 30-year-old claimed to be retiring from the event.

She held true to her word last summer, only racing the 100 free at the European Championships, but began racing the long course 200 again in 2019. The two-time Olympic medalist won the Italian Championships in April in a time of 1:56.60, and then threw down a 1:55.42 at the Sette Colli Trophy in June to announce herself as a medal contender once again.

On day four of the 2019 World Championships, Pellegrini extended her record to eight with another first-place finish in a time of 1:54.22, her fourth gold medal in the event.

Post-race she hinted at her eventual retirement, stating “I’m very happy (with the win) because this is my last World Championships.” That likely indicates that she plans on hanging up her suit for good after Tokyo 2020.

PELLEGRINI 200 FREESTYLE MEDALS

  1. 2005, silver – 1:58.73
  2. 2007, bronze – 1:56.97
  3. 2009, gold – 1:52.98 (WR)
  4. 2011, gold – 1:55.58
  5. 2013, silver – 1:55.18
  6. 2015, silver – 1:55.32
  7. 2017, gold – 1:54.73
  8. 2019, gold – 1:54.22

Her time marks the fastest textile swim of her career, only trailing her world record (1:52.98) and semi-final time (1:53.67) from the 2009 Championships in Rome. It is the sixth-fastest swim overall in history.

Allison Schmitt is the textile world record holder with her 1:53.61 from the 2012 Olympics.

ALL-TIME PERFORMANCES, WOMEN’S 200 FREESTYLE

  1. Federica Pellegrini (ITA), 1:52.98 – 2009
  2. Allison Schmitt (USA), 1:53.61 – 2012
  3. Federica Pellegrini (ITA), 1:53.67 – 2009
  4. Katie Ledecky (USA), 1:53.73 – 2016
  5. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 1:54.08 – 2016
  6. Federica Pellegrini (ITA), 1:54.22 – 2019
  7. Ariarne Titmus (AUS), 1:54.30 – 2019
  8. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 1:54.31 – 2015
  9. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 1:54.34 – 2016
  10. Allison Schmitt (USA), 1:54.40 – 2012

In typical Pellegrini fashion, she moved her way through the field throughout the race, turning seventh at the 50 before moving up to fourth at the 100, second at the 150 and then blasted a 28.90 split coming home to win.

Australian Ariarne Titmus, who led most of the way, won the silver medal in a time of 1:54.66, and Sarah Sjostrom picked up bronze in 1:54.78.

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Luigi
2 years ago

For some reason – maybe because it is a brutal combination of speed and endurance, maybe because it is a hotly contested event (Imers, distance swimmers and even sprinters will often include it in their program) – the 200 free has never been too kind to the aging swimmer. If memory serves, nobody has managed to stay consistently on top or near the top for more than 5, 6 years: not Thorpe, nor Phelps or Pieter VDH. Couple of Olympic cycles, at the most, and you are not a medal contender anymore; perhaps a relay swimmer. Nobody, excepts Federica. That is what makes this medal even more remarkable. She has been near the top or at the top since 2004.

Ema
Reply to  Luigi
2 years ago

Well said! Please add Sadovyi (not sure about the spelling) to the list

Luigi
Reply to  Luigi
2 years ago

I must correct myself: Phelps has been at the top or near the top from 2004 through 2011. In 2012 he dropped the event individually. That is 7 years. Then of course he is the GOAT.

Kristiina
2 years ago

She turned at 31 august.

brian
2 years ago

according to me, ledecky he doesn’t like freestyle anymore. that’s why it no longer holds world records. she wanted to amaze the world with the mixed but she couldn’t. he lost in Budapest against pilgrims and I don’t think he answered. he may not return as before but not because he has changed schools or coaches but because he no longer likes freestyle, he likes the mixed, even if he does not publicly declare it

Barney
2 years ago

Not a lot of Ledecky on that top 10 list. I expect to see more Titmus in coming years. Probably no more Schmitt or Sjostrom. Maybe a Ruck or Junxuan will appear. How about Haughey or Regan Smith? Will be interesting to see it post 2021.

andrew
Reply to  Barney
2 years ago

I would like to see Pellegrini the last time not in Tokyo Olympics, but in 2021 Worldwide Championships. I believe she has the potential to get a nine podium!

brian
2 years ago

pellegrini was completely rested.titmus and sjostrom were already tired.if titmus and sjostrom were rested maybe they could beat it.
pellegrini rested 3 days before competing. she’s always lucky.
sjostrom on 200 has 1.54.00, titmus on 200 1.54.30 a little worse than pellegrini and is only 18 years old!does not seem so expectional to me pellegrini!!

Chimken nunget
Reply to  brian
2 years ago

You say only 18 years old referring to titmus like pellegrini hasn’t been doing this since she was 15

brian
2 years ago

federica made the 200 style completely rested. titmus and sjostrom were already very tired. titmus did a heavy 400 with his best time beating ledecky, sjostrom did 4×100 and a very heavy 100 butterfly. if they were both rested as pilgrims they could perhaps beat her. sjostrom has a best on the 200 of 1.54 (best of pilgrims) titmus has 1.5430 a tenth worst of pilgrims. we must remember that ariarne titmus is only 18 years old! he missed the race by wasting his energy in the first part instead of forcing in the 2nd part as pilgrims always do. she has more experience because she is older. for which it is not so unique pilgrims. it is strong but… Read more »

Misha
Reply to  brian
2 years ago

Bla bla bla, Pellegrini not pilgrim

Misha
Reply to  brian
2 years ago

Bla bla bla.. she won 11 medals at world champs because she is always lucky.. shut up dude
Federica is a beast!

brian
Reply to  Misha
2 years ago

I would like to take pellegrini titmus and sjostrom with the same days of rest. I think we should change the program of the sport in general and offer a chance for all the athletes. only then can we know who the strongest athlete really is.Sjostrom even felt bad after the race for accumulated lactic acid. read the article on Swedish sites. this is proof of what I say.

andrew
Reply to  brian
2 years ago

Titmus is 19, Sjostrom is 26, Pellegrini is 31. No one of her opponents will continue to swim at Pellegrini’s current age. And that’s a fact. That was Pellegrini’s nineth worldwide championship. And it says all. So, shut up!

brian
Reply to  andrew
2 years ago

at the 2015 World Championship he lost, at the 2016 Olympics he lost, and in 2018 he didn’t even compete because he wasn’t competitive. he hasn’t always won in his career and so he’s not a beast.

MY MOM!
Reply to  brian
2 years ago

So what? The clock doesn’t car about your conjecture. The medals don’t care. Pellegrini walks away with another gold. If Titmus or Sjoestrom or Ledecky wanted it as bad as her they could have done something differently.

Blackflag82
2 years ago

This was an amazing swim to watch, it was fast, but also it just shows how well she understands the strategy and her body’s ability within what is a really tough race to get right

marklewis
Reply to  Blackflag82
2 years ago

Coaches and other swimmers should watch this race to see how a 200 free. She’s out strong but holding back a little for the last lap to go into a final sprint.

Ervin
2 years ago

Watch the peanut gallery not even mention her as contender this time around next year…..till she wins in Tokyo and ppl will be like “YAAAS QUEEN” “OMG, where did she come from?!?!?!”

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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