Seven Hills, Day 1: Pellegrini claims the 400 freestyle, Sullivan and Alshammar shine too
PESCARA – in the swimming pool where she established the seventh world record of her career, the queen from Rome 2009 Federica Pellegrini won the 400 freestyle in 4:03.12, improving her performance from the national championships and her season’s first world performance.
“I’m very happy with this time improvement; I came down the mountain five days ago and despite the intense training, I had good feelings. I am very optimistic for the coming European championships in Budapest. At the Seven Hills meet I will still compete in the 800 while I still don’t know about the 200: I’d like to be on top also for the Italian club championships on Sunday.”
The podium was completed by Mutina (HUN) and Trott (RSA), while the expectation of a confrontation with Alessia Filippi, who was on rest today, was dismissed; but she is ready for the 800 freestyle (an event she will probably race together with the 200 backstroke in Budapest).
Steamed up by the Italian championships, Federico Colbertaldo redeemed himself by taking the lead in the 400 freestyle (3:50.32) in front of teammates Busato and Baggio. “The hard work has started to pay off; now I don’t have physical problems anymore and I am happy with the time recorded in this intense period.”
British Liam Tancock did not leave any room for his opponents, winning the 50 backstroke in 25.29 in front of Italy’s best, Mirco Di Tora (“it is an honour to finish second behind the world’s best backstroke swimmer, said Di Tora after the race) and Giordano.
The women’s race goes to compatriot Elizabeth Simmonds, enthusiastic about the Italian sun and the time of 28.61, but with her mind already on the European championships and the Commonwealth Games; excellent second place for Arianna Barbieri, who marks the second Italian time of the year, and beats Van Wyk (RSA).
Fabio Scozzoli is the winner of a disputed final in the 100 breaststroke in 1:10.14 in front of frightful Dale Oen (NOR) and Facci. “A very good time despite the allergy which this year made me suffer more than usual – said Scozzoli – I train in long course only for two weeks (open water), this is a comforting start.”
An all-Italian podium in the women’s 100 breastroke: Chiara Boggiatto wins in 1:09.1 in front of Carraro and Fabbri. “Finally I have recovered – said the winner – from now on the athletes that are talented and light will come back for the titles. I am indeed also happy with the time performed.”
Milorad Cavic (SER) succeeds in winning the 100 butterfly in 52.53 despite backache appeared in the last days. “I don’t know yet whether I will participate at the European championships even though I have good feelings during the races: if I have to have surgery, I would rather do it early (in July) in order to put back in place in view of the FINA World Swimming championships (short course).”
A high-level podium was completed by Dunford (RSA) and Huegill (AUS), 50 butterfly specialist but who is also competitive on the double distance.
Francesca Halsall (GBR), world vice-champion in the 100 freestyle, shows she is competitive also in the 100 butterfly event, which she wins in 58.97. “Today I managed to swim in a big way an event that I love swimming here, in Italy, butterfly; I always exalt when I succeed in giving the maximum every time I go down the pool.” Behind the British placed second Snildal (NOR) and tied for third the Italians Segat (who got married with her coach Andrea Palloni two weeks ago) and Di Liddo.
The women’s 1500 freestyle were won by Italian champion Giorgia Consiglio in 16:29.79 in front of Caramignoli and Arauzou (GER). After the race, l’azzurra who also won the 5, 10 and 25km events in open water at the Italian championships, said: “I didn’t think I would go that fast; I have raced similarly to the training in view of the FINA World Open Water Swimming championships in Roberval (CAN). After this, I will focus on the European championships in Budapest for which I am qualified also in the 1500 freestyle.”
To close the day, Eamon Sullivan (AUS), who trains in Italy after having participated at the Mare Nostrum meet, wins in an excellent 22.09, followed by Schneider (USA) who placed second and Italy’s fresh face Dotto in third. Filippo Magnini finished eighth, tired from the heavy workload at Auburn University (USA) together with Cesar Cielo (BRA), but remains confident about the 100 freestyle on Saturday.
In the women’s field, brilliant performance by Therese Alshammar (SWE), the butterfly specialist was able to close the race in 24.27 (the season’s best world performance), rejecting Halsall’s consistent assault, who places second; in third comes Matsa (GRE). “I am like the Italian wine – said the Scandinavian sprinter – the more time passes, the better it becomes. I am serene, which allows me to express myself at the best in the pool.”