Top 5 Women’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.

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. Refresh yourself on the men’s preview here while the top 5 women’s are below.

#1 100 Freestyle

Three of the top six women in the world right now will be contesting the 100m free, including Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey, Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom and the Netherlands’ Marrit Steenbergen.

Two-time Olympic silver medalist Haughey already clocked a mark of 52.50 this season on the Mare Nostrum Tour, with the former University of Michigan Wolverine coming within less than half a second of her PB of 52.27.

23-year-old Steenbergen’s season-best of 52.98 was produced just this month at the Dutch Championships. The time also checked in as her lifetime best and first foray ever under the 53-second barrier.

As for superstar Sjostrom, she’ll be looking to improve upon her 52.99 notched in Stockholm this past April.

Great Britain will be represented by Freya Anderson and Anna Hopkin here in Rome, while Belgium’s Roos Vanotterdijk is a sleeper contender.

Seeded 14th, Vanotterdijk’s 54.51 from February’s Flemish Championships overtook the previous Belgian record of 54.90 and was just the 18-year-old’s 4th outing under the 55-second barrier.

#2 50 Backstroke

Dutch ace Kira Toussaint leads the field with an entry time of 27.10, the national standard and European Record she produced 2 years ago. However, she’s only been as quick as 28.02 this season, which opens the door for the rest of the pack to take a run at gold.

Among the field is Canadian Kylie Massewith the 27-year-old carrying a season-best of 27.38 into the race. That result put up in January fell just .20 outside of the Olympian’s national record in the event.

British duo Medi Harris and Lauren Cox will attempt to make it a 1-2 punch while Italy’s Silvia Scalia will try to improve upon her 28.04 logged at April’s Italian Championships.

Israel’s Anastasia Gorbenko is situated as the 12th seed but has a habit of improving her PBs seemingly every time she dives into the pool.

#3 100 Breaststroke

Although Italy’s 18-year-old Benedetta Pilato opted out of her signature 50m breast for Sette Colli, she is listed among the entrants for the 100m distance.

That means we’ll potentially get to see a head-to-head battle with Lithuanian Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte.

Pilato will try to build on the 1:08.49 she produced in May while Meilutyte’s season-best of 1:06.38 from the Barcelona stop of the Mare Nostrum Tour ranks her 13th in the world on the season.

Japan’s Reona Aoki is also among those ready to stake her claim on this event after collecting the national title at April’s Trials in a mark of 1:05.89.

Dutch 22-year-old Tes Schouten fired off a new national record of 1:05.71 in 2023 and has been under 1:06 already 4 times this season.

Ireland’s Mona McSharry is also coming in hot after establishing a new personal best and national record of 1:06.04 in May.

#4 200 IM

The top 4 seeds headed into this 200 IM are all in the 2:09-zone, led by Steenbergen. The versatile Dutch racer clocked a new national record of 2:09.16 in Eindhoven, ranking her 6th in the world and the top European performer this season.

Gorbenko is right behind her with a national record-setting performance of her own, having reaped a mark of 2:09.28 in Monte Carlo last month.

The additional sub-2:10 entrants include Brits Katie Shanahan and Abbie Wood.

18-year-old Shanahan upset Olympic finalist Wood at the British Trials in this event, with the former taking the title in 2:09.40 while the latter settled for silver in 2:09.46.

Italy’s Sara Franceschi will also be in the mix, although the 24-year-old already nabbed a World Championships qualifying time of 2:10.05 in this event.

#5 50 Butterfly

The 50m fly will be all about Sjostrom, with the Swede sitting head and shoulders above the rest of the pack.

29-year-old Sjostrom ripped a ferocious time of 24.89 in this event while competing in the knockout rounds at the Monaco stop of the Mare Nostrum Tour.

Sjostrom has held the 50m fly World Record since clocking a time of 24.43 in 2014. She remains the only woman in history to have ever dipped under the 25-second barrier in this event and has recorded the top 25 times in history.

Sjostrom’s last 24-point 50m fly came at the 2022 World Championships where she put up 24.95 to claim gold in Budapest. Remarkably, her season-best time of 24.89 beat out that gold medal-worthy effort and ranks as the 7th swiftest performance in history.

Chasing Sjostrom will be Maaike de Waard of the Netherlands, Angelina Kohler of Germany, Ai Soma of Japan and Silvia di Pietro of Italy.

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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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