Two-Time Olympic Medalist Federico Burdisso Will No Longer Compete For Northwestern

Federico Burdisso‘s athletic career at Northwestern University has come to an end.

Burdisso, a two-time Olympic medalist and 2022 world champion for Italy, recently entered the NCAA transfer portal and told SwimSwam that he’s keeping his options open but potentially won’t race in the collegiate system again.

“I’m still unsure about my next move,” he said. “I just couldn’t remain in a program that is falling apart and has no leadership.

“I would like to keep my options open. I am no longer part of Northwestern and will not be racing for them at Big Tens, NCAAs, or any other meet for that matter.

“I just want to shine some light on the issue and hopefully the athletic department will make the changes the team needs,” Burdisso said about his reasons for going public with his opinions on the program.

The 21-year-old added that his focus is shifting to the 2024 Olympics in Paris, but if the right college approaches him, he’ll consider it. Prior to his departure, there were plans in place for him to enter the portal so he could speak to other coaches about different pro groups for next year.

Northwestern will continue to honor his athletic scholarship through graduation, which he is due for next semester.

A spokesperson for the Northwestern athletics department offered the following statement on Burdisso’s departure:

Federico Burdisso is no longer a competitive member of the Wildcats swimming and diving team, but maintains the full support of the department in the final stretch of his pursuit of a Northwestern degree. Our staff remains focused on our student-athletes who continue to invest each day in the foundation of a culture built on respect, inclusion and excellence.”

Alongside his brother Alessandro, Burdisso committed to Northwestern in November 2018, coming off winning the bronze medal in the men’s 200 butterfly at the 2018 European Championships in Glasgow.

He made his NCAA debut in January 2020, and went on to place fourth in the men’s 200 fly and 10th in the 100 fly at the Big Ten Championships the following month.

After the 2020 NCAA Championships were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Burdisso took an Olympic redshirt in the 2020-21 season, going on to win a pair of bronze medals at the Tokyo Games in the men’s 200 fly and on the Italian men’s 400 medley relay.

Burdisso also won silver in the 200 fly at the 2020 European Championships in Budapest, which were held in May 2021 due to the pandemic.

Burdisso placed fourth in the 200 fly, sixth in the 100 fly and ninth in the 50 free at the 2022 Big Ten Championships last season as a junior, and in his lone appearance at nationals, finished 21st in the 200 fly, 32nd in the 100 fly and 51st in the 50 free at the 2022 NCAA Championships.

This past summer, Burdisso won World Championship gold as a member of the Italian men’s 400 medley relay, splitting 50.63 on the fly leg to help upset the Americans and tie the European Record in 3:27.51.

Two months later at the European Championships, he added another gold medal in the event after swimming a preliminary leg of the relay. Burdisso also placed 10th in the 100 fly, and was fifth in the 200 fly prelims but failed to advance as he was the third-fastest among Italian swimmers (only the top two per country advance).

Burdisso is no longer listed on Northwestern’s roster for this season. He most recently competed in a dual meet against Michigan on Nov. 5, winning the 100 free (43.71) and 200 fly (1:44.47).

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Swim Fan
1 month ago

Cmon USC men, it’s your time to come clean like this Northwestern swimmer! You’ve been hiding under a rock with pathetic performances. Another program that Kipp was a part of that he left in the toilet! Seems like the USC men are racing to the bottom of the D1 ranks and it will only get worse.

Last edited 1 month ago by Swim Fan
Harry Sherman
2 months ago

Burdisso clearly has talent as evidenced with his Olympic medal but he contributed little to the NU program. Never an All-American, mostly substandard performances at Big Ten championships, and not much of a teammate and clearly not a leader despite having a “medal”. A clear reminder to all swimming programs that “potential” talent can ruin team dynamics and chemistry. Coaches need to recruit the “person” and not just the “time”.

There will always be another program that will put up with his antics and toxicity in the locker room… but good to see that the NU team won’t have to deal with his drama any longer.

Boiler Up
2 months ago

Wow, crazy to think that much like Hunter Armstrong, Brendan Burns sent an elite swimmer to the shadow realm and now he backs out of the Big Ten.

Reply to  Boiler Up
2 months ago

By “shadow realm”, I assume you mean Olympic/World Champion, (which Brendan Burns is neither). Then I guess your statement would be accurate…

Cats by 0
Reply to  Boiler Up
1 month ago

You say the shadow realm like Armstrong and Burns are Francis Ngannou…it’s just swimming bro

2 months ago

Can someone clarify what these “behavioral problems” are that everyone is alluding to rather than being so vague?

Last edited 2 months ago by SwimGuySwim
Lao gan ma
2 months ago

Looking from an outsider perspective, NU hasn’t made much progress in the past few seasons. They finished around 5th and 6th at B1Gs every year and was never able to make that breakthrough. On paper, they have talented swimmers who are completely capable but never able to make much improvements. Perhaps a change in leadership is what they need.

Reply to  Lao gan ma
2 months ago


2 months ago

Well, not that those around you didn’t know but those words show your level of maturity and your true character. Time to hang your goggles.

Former wildcat
Reply to  Notsofast
1 month ago

He’s not wrong tho

Hugh A Mungus
2 months ago

Federico, sir, we hope you’ll consider Valparaiso and the beautiful Horizon league in your future endeavors.

Cheesecake Enjoyer
2 months ago

I was a big Fede fan. Huge in fact. Enormous really. Just the biggest. But after seeing his blatant disrespect for NU I am feeling a wide range of emotions, but mostly just one. I’m glad Northwestern has decided to trim the fat, though that doesn’t always work. This situation must be discouraging for Fede, but if I was him, I’d never be satiated until my next opportunity to prove it in the pool. As they say in his home country, non è finita finché la signora grassa non canta.

Demarrit Steenbergen
Reply to  Cheesecake Enjoyer
2 months ago

I think many of us have had similar moments with someone we are fans of

Reply to  Cheesecake Enjoyer
1 month ago

Hopefully “great” leadership cuts the rest of the fat too

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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