World Record Holders David Popovici, Sarah Sjostrom, Lead Sette Colli Saturday Morning

59th Annual Swimming Trophy Settecolli

The World Record holders David Popovici and Sarah Sjostrom cruised into finals of the 100 free on Saturday, the best event of the day for both genders on the day 2 schedule at the historic Sette Colli Trophy.

Popovici posted a 48.35 in prelims. The man who has the second-most sub-48 second swims in history in the 100 freestyle will be chasing another in finals while racing against a loaded final.

Matthew Richards from Great Britain was 2nd in 48.36. That about two-tenths slower than he swam a month ago at the AP Race event in London, but is a great time for him in prelims.

That heat sets up an electric final, an event that includes Alessandro Miressi of the host nation in 48.53, Manuel Frigo (48.84), Thomas Dean (48.88), Breno Correia (48.95), Lorenzo Zazzeri (48.95), and Filippo Megli (49.13).

The depth of the Italian men’s sprint group (they took bronze at Worlds last year) very-nearly froze Brits Duncan Scott (49.15) and Jacob Whittle (49.23) out of the A-final, but the meet using a 10-lane pool will be their saving grace.

Scott, it’s worth noting, dropped this 100 free from his Worlds schedule in favor of the 200 IM.

The women’s race showed similar quality, led by the Swede Sjostrom in 53.43. The Swede, who has been on a bit of a load-management schedule this season, has only been faster once this calendar year – a 52.9 from Swedish Nationals in mid-April.

She is followed by Britain’s Anna Hopkin, who swam 54.15 in her first swim of the meet. Siobhan Haughey and Marrit Steenbergen swam matching 54.17s out of heat 3 to advance as well.

Among the most-significant swims of the morning was a 54.32 from Italian 20-year-old Sofia Morini to qualify 5th. That knocks four-tenths of a second off her best time from Italian Nationals in April.

She is not one of the 12 swimmers who were prequalified to Worlds from Trials. For that list to grow, swimmers would have to hit FINA “A” standards this week, which for Morini means 54.25 in the final.

That 100 free will be another loaded final, with other big names like Signe Bro (54.52), Valentine Dumont (54.74), Freya Anderson (54.81), and Michelle Coleman (54.84) also swam into the A-final.

Other Prelims Swims of Significance:

  • Short course World Record holder and the defending double World Champion in the 50 breast Ruta Meilutyte led the way in prelims of the 50 breaststroke in 30.02. Another Italian woman breaking through in prelims was Anita Bottazzo, who swam 30.33 to make her first international final of any significance. Her previous best time was 30.69.
  • Italians took the top 5 positions in the men’s 50 breaststroke prelims, led by Nicolo Martinenghi in 26.76. Martinenghi is the defending World Championship silver medalist from last year. Not far behind him was teenager Simone Cerasuolo in 26.81. That time is a new Age Group Record in Italy for 17-19 year olds.
  • Sweden’s Louise Hansson, who is holding down the butterfly races for the country with Sjostrom focused more on free, swam 57.61 for the top seed in prelims. She has been going 57-lows all season long.
  • 2023 Worlds silver medalist in the 100 back Kylie Masse swam 59.84 in the women’s 100 back, making her the only woman under 1 minute in the event.
  • British teen Freya Colbert led the field in the women’s 400 IM in 4:41.51. That’s 6th best time of her career and already the fastest that she has swum outside of a British/World/European/Commonwealth Championship meet. She had her big breakthrough at April’s National Championships, swimming 4:35.50, putting her in the conversation for a medal in Fukuoka. After a breakthrough 1:56 in the 200 free on Friday, she could be lined up for a big finals swim in this race on Saturday evening.

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5 months ago

Anything over 52m and Sara is in trouble.

Reply to  Stefe
5 months ago

Pretty sure she’s not swimming the 100 fly this year. So she has 2 50s and the 100 free, and she’s already been a 52.9 this year. She won’t medal with that time but she’s not looking that bad.

5 months ago

What happened to Burras? 50.74 in the heats

Scuncan Dott v2
Reply to  Troyy
5 months ago

Wasn’t great in the 50 either, hopefully he comes good at Worlds. He has been a bit hit-or-miss in the 100, he went 48.39 as first leg on the 400 Free relay at Commonwealths but then went out in the Semis of the individual with a 49.96.

Reply to  Troyy
5 months ago

i feel like there have been a few swimmers who have added time coming up to world champs?!

Reply to  Ben
5 months ago

I’m not worried about the British swimmers at this meet; in training, they’re not expecting anything great.

5 months ago

Where can I watch the finals live?!? Any online website or platforms?!?

Reply to  Cristian
5 months ago

You need a VPN set to Italy

Reply to  Troyy
5 months ago

For me does not work even with VPN. How do they want to make swimming more popular if every competition is so difficult to watch?

5 months ago

Wow very nearly a European championships finals level field for the 100free. I feel like I’m previous years the field wasn’t as competitive… I wonder if the top coaches/athletes all got the memo that Popo will be here and they should all come or whether it was a coincidence

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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