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ItalyItaly, ITA


Further Personal Information

Date of birth
05 August 1988
179 cm
Partner Matteo Giunta
Verona, ITA
English, Italian

Sport Specific Information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She first tried swimming when her parents took her to a pool before she was old enough to walk.
Club / Team
CC Aniene: Rome, ITA
Name of coach
Matteo Giunta [personal], from 2014

International Debut

Competing for

General Interest

Fede, Lioness of Verona, La Divina (, 20 Dec 2018; FINA Aquatics World Magazine, 20 Apr 2011;, 11 Apr 2014)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the 200m freestyle at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, Republic of Korea. (, 24 Apr 2020)
Most influential person in career
Her family and coach Alberto Castagnetti. (, 20 Oct 2017)
Hero / Idol
Swiss tennis player Roger Federer, Italian Moto GP rider Valentino Rossi. (FINA Aquatics World Magazine, 07 Dec 2010;, 19 Feb 2007)
She was troubled by a back injury in late 2014 and early 2015, and underwent surgery on the problem later in 2015. (, 19 Dec 2015;, 21 Jan 2015)
Awards and honours
She was named Female Athlete of the Year at the 2019 Gazzetta Sports Awards in Italy. (, 20 Dec 2019)

In 2018 she received the Giulio Onesti Award from the Giulio Onesti Foundation. (, 28 Jun 2018)

She was presented with the 2018 Cangrande d'Oro Award in Verona, Italy. (, 07 Mar 2018)

She was named Woman of the Year in 2017 by her fellow Italian athletes. (, 02 Mar 2018)

She was Italy's flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (, 06 Aug 2016)

She was named the International Sports Press Association [AIPS] 2011 European Female Athlete of the Year. (, 02 Jan 2012)

She was named the 2009 World Female Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World Magazine. She was also named European Female Swimmer of the Year by the magazine in 2009, 2010 and 2011. (, 01 Dec 2009, 30 Nov 2011)
She became the first swimmer to win eight world championship medals in the same individual event when she won a medal in the 200m freestyle at eight consecutive editions of the world championships from 2007 to 2019. She was also the first Italian swimmer to have won six career world championship medals in any event, as well as the first to win seven, eight, nine, 10 and 11 career world championship medals. (, 28 Oct 2015;, 26 Jul 2017;, 29 Jul 2019; SportsDeskOnline, 28 Oct 2020)

She became the first female Italian swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal, when she claimed gold in the 200m freestyle at the 2008 Games in Beijing. (, 30 Nov 2010; SportsDeskOnline, 28 Oct 2020)

When she won silver in the 200m freestyle at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens at age 16 years and 12 days, she became the youngest Italian swimmer to win an Olympic medal. (, 21 Jun 2005; SportsDeskOnline, 28 Oct 2020)
Famous relatives
Her grandfather Gastone was an Italian national wrestling champion. Her partner Matteo Giunta has served as her coach. (, 20 Dec 2019;, 06 May 2011)
To compete at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. (, 02 Mar 2018;, 02 Nov 2018;, 27 Oct 2020)
Other information
She says the disappointment of missing out on a medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where she placed fourth in the 200m freestyle, helped motivate her as she went on to win gold in the event at the world championships in 2017. "That season [before the 2016 Games] was really good in terms of results and in terms of preparation. The only thing that went wrong was fourth place and not getting the medal. That [2017] season, I was thinking sometimes about Rio and the fourth place. I would try to push harder and harder to get a medal at the world championships. The year after in 2018? No. There was no thinking of Rio still affecting my life or my mind." She won world championship gold again in the 200m freestyle in 2019. "[After 2017], I was feeling more comfortable with my speed and feeling more comfortable with training and with workouts. Everything was going well, especially last season [at the 2019 World Championships] in Gwangju, where I swam my best textile time in the 200m freestyle. I was feeling amazing, and did not expect that." (, 24 Apr 2020)

She has considered retiring after the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, which will be her fifth Olympic appearance. However, speaking in early 2020, she did not rule out continuing after the Games. "After Tokyo, I will take some time to see what is better for my life because I don't want to think about it right now. I want to be focused on training and preparation. I don't want to have any pressure [in Tokyo]. I want to do it with a big smile on my face. The Olympics is so unique, that even the fifth will be like the first one." (, 25 May 2018;, 24 Apr 2020;, 16 Jan 2020)