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).