After a rocking day 1 at Italian trials that saw a ton of Shanghai A-times, things got off to a bit of a slow start on the 2nd day of the Italian National Championships and World Championship Trials. In fact, in the first two events, the women’s 50 fly and the men’s 100 fly, nobody even really scared the FINA A-qualifying times.
Elena Gemo, who is by nature a backstroker, picked up her second National title in the former of those events with a mark of 26.84. An interesting case in this race is the young Silvia Di Pietro, who just saw her 18th birthday last week. In Rome (at only 16), she broke the Italian National Record in this event (in 25.84) and finished the year ranked in the top 10 in the world. Since then, however, she has fallen off pace, and in this event managed only a 4th-place finish. Here’s to hoping she can regain that form without the suits, because she has the potential to be a good one if she does.
In the second of those events, Lorenzo Benatti earned a hard-fought win in the men’s 100 fly over Paolo Facchinelli to take the race in a time of 53.58, which is about mid-way betwen the FINA “A” and “B” standards.
In the women’s 200 breaststroke, the third event, the Italians finally started to pick up some momentum, thanks to a 2:26.63 win from Chiara Boggiatto. She took the race out very hard and put the field away early to earn a solid finish, a top-15 ranking, and an automatic trip to Shanghai. Lisa Fissneider, who is another young-star for this team at only 16, placed 2nd in 2:27.58 and will also be on her way to the World Championships.
In the 400 IM, Federico Turrini pulled off a big upset over the much more (infamously) known Luca Marin with a time of 4:14.18. This was really a complete swim by Turrini, as he dominated every leg of the race, and ranks him 7th in the world this year. Marin, on the other hand, had a very weak butterfly leg, and was never really able to recover from it. His 2nd-place time of 4:17.04 is good enough for Shanghai though.
The first really big time of the meet came in the women’s 1500 free, though. Martina Rita Caramignoli has always been solid in short course for the Italians, but has never really broken through in long course before. That would be hard to say anymore after she posted a 16:19.78 today in what is a best time (by double-digits) and not all that far off of her short-course World Record mark…despite being a long course race. She is now 10th in the world rankings, followed closely by teammate Rachele Bruni in 16:22.37 (12th).
Italian star breaststroker Fabio Scozzoli, who has World Championship Final potential, sat out the 100 breaststroke due to a battle with the flu. This left the door wide open for 50m champ Mattia Pesce (Italian for “Matt Fish,” appropriately) to win the race in 1:01.10, though with a time like that, he might have won anyways. Pesce has been swimming spectacularly at this meet, and might be the big surprise of the Italian team in Shanghai. Scozzoli earned his A-time at Euro’s, but today just barely earned himself a spot in this race in Shanghai. Flavio Bizzarri placed 2nd in this meet in 1:01.64, which is .07 off of the Shanghai qualifying mark. Had he earned an A-standard in this race, it would have been very difficult for the Federazione Italiana Nuoto to deny him the spot, leaving Scozzoli out to dry. As it stands, their choices are to take Scozzoli or to leave the spot absent.
And in the day’s final…final, the biggest name of the Italian roster, Federica Pellegrini, tested her range in the women’s 100 freestyle with a nice time of 54.98. It’s not an event that she’ll swim at World’s or the Olympics (she didn’t even venture to participate in the relay in Rome), but it is an important one for her none-the-less. This is because, as we saw yesterday, she really needs to get some speed and attack Adlington at her weakest spot, the opening sprint, of the 400 freestyle.
Nobody aside from Pellegrini automatically qualified in the women’s 100 free.