Top 5 Men’s Races To Watch At 2023 Sette Colli Trophy


  • Friday, June 23rd – Sunday, June 25th
  • Prelims at 10am local (4am EDT)/Finals at 6pm local (Noon EDT)
  • Foro Italico, Rome, Italy
  • LCM (50m)
  • World Championships Qualifier
  • Meet Central
  • Entry List
  • Live Results

The 2023 Settle Colli Trophy kicks off on Friday, June 23rd with stacked fields on both the women’s and men’s sides. The entry lists reveal a plethora of talent from around the world, including host nation Italy, Sweden, Japan, the Netherlands, Great Britain and more.

Of note, Hungarian World Record holder Kristof Milak was among the racers expected to compete at this Rome-based meet. However, as the 23-year-old announced he has pulled out of the World Championships, his participation here is doubtful.

He was originally slated to race on the Mare Nostrum Tour last month but also pulled out of that meet, most likely due to what he describes as hitting ‘rock bottom’.

For those athletes who are diving in over the 3-day meet, the Sette Colli may represent a last-chance opportunity to qualify for next month’s World Championships.

Italy held its Trials meet in April, with a total of 12 swimmers having clocked Fukuoka-worthy times to add their names to the initial roster. Those athletes can attempt to add more events while new names will seek to be inserted onto the lineup with this weekend’s racing.

I’ve picked out 5 men’s races and 5 women’s races that have the potential to bring about some fireworks over the course of the weekend. Here are the top 5 men’s, while the women’s will be published in a subsequent post.

Top 5 Men’s Races to Watch at 2023 Sette Colli Trophy

#1 100 Freestyle

The reigning World Record holder, David Popovici of Romania is the man to beat in the 100m free. The 18-year-old superstar is the top seed of the field, owning a season-best of 47.61 to rank 3rd in the world this season.

Chasing him will be a trio of Brits in national champion Lewis Burras, 200m free Olympic champion Tom Dean and fellow Olympic medalist Matt Richards.

Versatile Duncan Scott is also set to dive in for the 100m free, although the Commonwealth Games bronze medalist in the event has dropped the race from his Fukuoka lineup. Scott has reduced his schedule to just one individual event, the 200m IM, for next month’s World Championships.

Additional contestants in this 1free in Rome include Italy’s Lorenzo Zazzeri, Portuguese standout Diogo Ribeiro and Hungary’s Szebasztian Szabo.

Popovici commands attention any time he swims and Zazzeri is still hunting a World Championships qualification time. 28-year-old Zazzeri mustered just a mark of 49.21 to place 5th at the Italian Championships, well off the World Aquatics ‘A’ time of 48.51 needed for the World Championships.

One thing to keep in mind is that the British contingent has said they are using this competition as an in-season training exercise and don’t expect to turn in any crazy-fast times.

#2 200 Freestyle

Many of the same players from the 100m free will be present among the 200m free field, with the addition of South African teen Matt Sates, Brazilian Olympic bronze medalist Fernando Scheffer and Swiss ace Antonio Djakovic.

The aforementioned Dean and Richards have each already logged times in the 1:44-zone from the British Championships while Scheffer hit a mark of 1:46.28 at the Brazilian Championships to notch his name onto his nation’s roster for Fukuoka.

Having Popovici among the racers as the #4 performer in history may give Sates the fuel he needs to lay down a more solid marker than the 1:47.92 posted at April’s South African Championships.

Sates owns a lifetime best of 1:45.91 in this event from the 2022 Mare Nostrum Tour so the former Georgia Bulldog is still seeking to produce a 2023 time within range of that outing. The fact that Sates has withdrawn from the World Championships may mean he’ll use this Sette Colli as his big meet of the calendar year.

#3 100 Backstroke

Thomas Ceccon of Italy, the reigning World Record holder in this event, has already qualified for Fukuoka with his 53.36 outing produced at the Italian Championships. That ranks Ceccon 12th in the world on the season.

The mustachioed 22-year-old may be given a run for his money here, with South African national record holder Pieter Coetze also among the mix. Coetze fired off a lifetime best of 52.78 African continental record at April’s national championships to rank 4th in the world and just outside the list of top 25 performers in history.

Since then, Coetze has said he won’t be racing at the World Championships, which means the Cal-bound swimmer may take this meet as an opportunity to let his fellow competitors know the damage he may have been able to produce in Fukuoka.

#4 50 Breaststroke

Anything can happen in a 50m of any stroke and this breaststroke contest will see some of the best-ever take to the Rome pool.

Olympic medalist Nicolo Martinenghi enters as the top seed but he’ll be joined by Italian teammates Simone Cerasuolo, Fabio Scozzoli and Federico Poggio. The quartet checks in as 4 of the 5 swiftest Italian performers in history.

Martinenghi owns the national record in 26.33 while Scozzoli’s career-quickest 26.70 makes him Italy’s #2. Cerasuolo’s PB stands at 26.85 while Poggio’s rests at 27.05.

As reported on SwimSwam Italia, 34-year-old Scozzoli will say farewell to his tremendous career at the conclusion of this competition. We’ll look for the veteran to attempt to end his career on a big-time bang.

#5 50m Butterfly

The top 10 seeded athletes in the men’s 50m fly all represent the current national record holders from Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Hungary, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan and Ukraine. That sets us up for a bloodbath of a final in this fast and furious race.

Here are the top-tier national record holders set to scorch the Foro Italico pool, listed in order according to seed:

  1. Ben Proud (GBR) – 22.75 2017
  2. Thomas Ceccon (ITA) – 22.79 2022
  3. Nyles Korstanje (NED) – 22.88 2022
  4. Szebasztian Szabo (HUN) – 22.90 2019
  5. Diogo Ribeiro (POR) – 22.96 2022
  6. Luca Armbruster (GER) – 23.02 2023
  7. Noe Ponti (SUI) – 23.04 2022
  8. Takeshi Kawamoto (JPN) – 23.13 2023
  9. Andrii Govorov (UKR) – 22.27 2018

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10 months ago

Unfortunately, Diogo Ribeiro won’t be competing due to Covid. Is there going to be a video stream of the races somewhere?

Reply to  Luis
10 months ago

You can watch them on Rai Play (there’s also the app version), the streaming platform of Italian national television, you’ll need a VPN though.

Last edited 10 months ago by Davide
Reply to  Davide
10 months ago

Ty very much Davide!

10 months ago

Didn’t know that Scozzoli was retiring after this meet.

Sad to see him go, but excited to see what he has to offer.

Last edited 10 months ago by swimmerfromjapananduk
10 months ago

One thing to keep in mind is that Popovici has said he is using this competition as an in-season schooling exercise

10 months ago

Excited to watch Chlorinedaddy’s first 200FR race this year

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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