FINA Communication Department

1500m Olympic and World champion Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy currently in Windsor, Canada, to race his pet event on Sunday December 11, appeared at a meet and greet where dozens of kids asking for selfies and autographs.

Paltrinieri happily played the game together with his compatriot Gabriele Detti in front of the Arena shop at the market place around the WFCU Centre.

“I remember when I was a kid and really wanted to take a picture with someone I admired, looked up at, so it is great to be in this position right now. I want to give them what I have received and also tell them a bit about me and how I built this career.”

Asked about his endurance preparation Paltrinieri, 22, said: “I train a lot, since a very long time. I move from my city to Rome when I was 16 to start preparing for Rio. It was amazing to compete in Rio, it was my dream since I was child. It is almost impossible to describe what I felt when I won.”

Keeping his gold medal objective in mind, he admitted: “I started my preparation for this championship a bit later than I usually would. I am just here to have fun and compete with great athletes. Of course, I want the gold but I don’t want to put pressure on myself. I will do my best and have fun.

As Italy started the World Championships on a high note on Tuesday night, the Italian champion commented: “I think we were great (Federica Pellegrini took gold, while the Italian relay took silver on Day 1). We are a small group of guys here, only 11 people only, but all is going well. We have a great team.

Sponsored by Arena since 2012 the young swimmer was all praised for his sponsor: “Arena provides me with everything that I need for my training – swimsuits, caps, goggles. Everything is perfect for me. It helps me a lot. I am very happy with them.”

Playing with the new Nikon equipment, Paltrinieri confessed that he’d love to be a photographer: “I like taking pictures. It is fun, especially in competition. It was very exciting to shot here.”