What Separates Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri From the 1500 Free World Record?

In this strange period, under the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, we do not get to see a lot of elite swimming competitions. Fortunately in Italy at 57° Trofeo Settecolli we saw some good and amazing results.

We already spoke about Benedetta Pilato and her incredible world junior record in 50m breaststroke.

Another crazy race was the men’s 1500m free where Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri broke a new European record in 14:33.10.

Paltrinieri at the 2019 FINA World Championships finished third with a time of 14.38.75. Florian Wellbrock won the final with 14:36.54.

All of the analysis below is under the context that Paltrinieri earlier this year began training with a new coach, Fabrizio Antonelli. Antonelli is best known as an open water coach, where Paltrinieri has been improving, but says that he is still passionate about the 1500 free in the pool.

European record – THE RACE’S ANALYSIS

The race analysis, available to download by clicking the link below the image, shows us an extraordinary consistency. If you check the split for first 750 meters and the second 750 meters, the times are:  7:16.26 and 7:16.84.  If you check the three 500 meters individually the times are 4:50.19, 4:51.97 and 4:50.94… amazing.

European record Paltrinieri

Stroke rate (or stroke tempo if you prefer) and stroke length are clearly consistent.

So, what we can say about such a race? Nothing, just a standing ovation. Just to remind you that the World Record is not far away at 14:31.02


The comparison between this data and the analysis of the same race at the Gwangju 2019 World Championships last summer shows us something interesting.

At first, we can note that Paltrinieri improved a lot in the swimming part and he got worse a bit in the turns. During the ‘above water’ swimming portion of his swim at Sette Colli , the sum of every phase from 15 to 45 meters of every length is 8”15 seconds faster than the sum of the same in Korea at the World Championships. From 5 to 15 meters in Rome he is faster by 1”96 seconds than in Korea, but in the turn, from 5 meters before the wall to 5 meters after the wall, he lost 4”52 seconds.

It is remarkably interesting to study what changed in the amazing swimming part: the average of the stroke rate increased a bit from 43.7 to 44.92 cycles per minute and the distance per stroke decreased from 226.3 to 223.6 cm per cycle. Apart from those parameters it looks like he found a better balance, continuity and fluidity in his swimming.

These parameters become important when we compare them with the gold and silver medals in Gwangju, Florian Wellbrock and Mykhailo Romanchuk

Paltrinieri in Rome swam absolutely faster than himself but above all than the other two guys in Korea, the gap is huge. Unfortunately, Paltrinieri’s turns got worse than Korea like we already said. In Korea Paltrinieri’s turns were already slower than other two swimmers. The main difference in the turns related to the other swimmers was the leaving of the wall. At the Settecolli, what got worse is fairly split in the approach and in the leaving of the wall, 5 meters before and after the wall.

I think Paltrinieri’s coach has a lot of thoughts about these issues.

… what if…

Just in theory, maybe in fantasy, but what if Paltrinieri was able to repeat the same turns from Korea? we already said that the turns were not the best ones. Swimming is not math but if we use math Paltrinieri should be able to destroy the world record.

I don’t want to write the time but it could be something incredible… easy to calculate.

This story comes courtesy of STEFANO NURRA

  • Analyst of Turkish Swimming Federation
  • Analyst of Energy Standard
  • Owner and Founder of Swim Lab

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7 months ago

He needs a stronger kick so he can finish better, the WR line always destroys him the last 100.

Reply to  BSD
7 months ago

That isn’t a lack of kick that’s destroying him that last 100.

Frog king superfan
7 months ago

Is all the timing done by hand with a stopwatch? This is some really cool data. I must imagine that this took a while with how many data points were measured.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Frog king superfan
7 months ago

Yes, thank you, this is a fascinating analysis. I just bet the author is hinting at sub-14:30 factoring in the same turn speed as in Korea 2019, yes?

7 months ago


The unoriginal Tim
Reply to  Togger
7 months ago

Yeah the difference between 14.33 and the WR is trimetazidine.

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Togger
7 months ago

a russian necklace

Corn Pop
Reply to  Togger
7 months ago

An enema . Firs t purge then insert a caffeine pellet.

About Giusy Cisale

Giusy Cisale

 GIUSY  CISALE Giusy Cisale ha frequentato il Liceo Classico "T.L. Caro" dove era impegnata nella redazione della rivista scolastica. Nel 2002 è tra le più giovani laureate in Giurisprudenza dell'Università Federico II di Napoli (ITA). Inizia il percorso di Avvocato Civilista, conseguendo nel 2006 l'abilitazione all'esercizio della professione di avvocato. Si avvicina al nuoto …

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