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Aug 13 22

Sates adds two more national titles to his hefty haul

by ZwemZa

Matthew Sates during the Swimming South African Short Course Championships, held at Seals swimming pool in Pietermaritzburg between 11-14 August 2022. Photo: Andrew Mc Fadden / BOOGS Photography

Relishing being back on home turf, Pietermaritzburg teenager Matt Sates added two more national titles to the three he won a day earlier at the SA Short Course Swimming Championships on Friday.

The A qualification times required for the World Short Course Championships proved elusive on the day, but a total of six swimmers did achieve the B qualifying times in their respective races, meaning they’ll still be in line for selection for the team to represent South Africa at the global event in Melbourne, Australia this December.

Among them was Sates, who achieved the B qualifying marks in both the 200m freestyle and the 100m butterfly.

The 19-year-old claimed the 200m freestyle title in a time of 1:44.26 while Andrew Ross also dipped under the time, finishing second in 1:46.71.

Sates then achieved the B qualifier in the 100m butterfly after winning in a time of 51.90 and admitted afterwards he was still feeling the effects of his recent efforts at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

“It has been tiring. I’ve had lots of trips and lots of galas so it’s nice to be back home and it’s really nice to race short course again,” he said.

“I’m not really trying for times too much, I’m just trying to race each event as well as possible. I raced two races today and got two B qualifying times so I’m happy with that,” added Sates who will be looking for another title in the 200 individual medley on Saturday.

Rebecca Meder (Supplied)

Also pleased with her efforts in Pietermaritzburg was Rebecca Meder, who recently celebrated her 20th birthday at the Commonwealth Games. The Durban star claimed the 100m butterfly title in a B qualifying time of 57.93.

“It’s going very, very well. Coming back from the Commonwealth Games it’s been racing and straight into racing which is tiring mentally more than physically. Mentally, you just have to think ‘ok, let’s do it again, let’s keep going,'” she said, also explaining she’s been recovering from a sinus infection.

As for her decision to drop the 400 individual medley to focus on the butterfly on Friday, Meder added: “I proved at Commonwealths that I’ve got some sprinting speed in me. In short course [in a 25m pool] my underwaters and turns are pretty strong so I thought let me go for the 100 fly and see what I can do there. I was just short of the A qualifying time, but it was a massive PB [personal best] for me so I think I definitely made the right decision.”

In Meder’s absence it was 17-year-old Dakota Tucker who powered to victory in the 400m individual medley, taking the title in a time of 4:38.16 – also a B qualifying time for the World Championships.

Others to achieve the same feat were fellow teenagers Pieter Coetzé and Ruard van Renen in the 50m backstroke – Coetzé taking the title in 23.80 (just five hundredths of a second off the A qualifying mark) with Van Renen second in 24.41.

SA Short Course swimming action continues on Saturday in Pietermaritzburg with the event coming to an end on Sunday, 14 August.

By Karien Jonckheere for Swimming South Africa

Aug 13 22

Roma 2022: Italy claim four of six swimming golds on day two

by ZwemZa

Italy’s Panziera, Ceccon, Martinenghi and Quadrella claim individual golds – Simone Castrovillari

Hosts Italy dominated the second night of swimming finals at the LEN Roma 2022 European Aquatics Championships with golds in four of the six finals.

The Netherlands continued their strong start to the event with the other two medals on Friday.

Women’s 200m backstroke FINAL:

Margherita Panziera continued her run of European successes – Simone Castrovillari / LEN

Margherita Panziera claimed the first of those titles by dominating the women’s 200m backstroke final. The two-time European champion led after the first length and powered clear of her rivals to secure her third-successive title.

The Italian, who was racing on her 27th birthday finished in a time of two minutes 7.13, which was clear of second-placed British teenager Katie Shanahan (2:09.26).

Dora Molnar of Hungary (2:09.73) was third.

“It’s really special to win here on my birthday and here in Rome, which is my home, with all these people cheering me,” she told LEN TV.

“It was really huge and I’m so happy because I really wanted to swim this time.”

Shanahan, who won two bronze medals at the Commonwealth Games for Scotland just ahead of Roma 2022, added that she was “absolutely ecstatic” to claim her first European medal.

“Honestly, I didn’t think I’d be coming away with a silver medal off the back of the Commonwealths just a couple of weeks ago and I’m just absolutely over the moon.”

Simone Castrovillari / LEN

Men’s 50m butterfly FINAL:

Thomas Ceccon is better known for his backstroke prowess after his World record and World Championship title at Budapest 2022 in late June, but he delivered a surprise 50m success for the home nation in the second final of day two.

The 21-year-old touched in 22.89 secs, to secure a narrow victory over Frenchman Maxime Grousset (22.97) and Diogo Matos Ribeiro of Portugal (23.07).

“The crowd helped me a lot and it is a good start for me here at this amazing pool,” said Ceccon after collecting his gold medal.

Simone Castrovillari / LEN

Men’s 100m breaststroke FINAL:

World champion Nicolo’ Martinenghi was the overwhelming favourite for gold after recording a clear quickest time in the semi-finals on day one.

Despite trailing to Germany’s Lucas Matzerath at the halfway stage the Italian surged into the lead in the second 50m and secured gold in 58.26 seconds.

Martinenghi won World gold for the first time in June – Simone Castrovillari / LEN

Team-mate Federico Poggio (58.98) produced an incredible swim to join Martinenghi on the podium, with Andrius Sidlauskas of Lithuania (59.50) completing the podium line-up.

“I’m really happy for first place, not so much with the time, but we are at the end of a long season and I’m happy to share the podium with my team-mate who I have grown up with,” Martinenghi told LEN TV.

“Thanks to the people, my family, friends and my girlfriend, it’s a beautiful night.”

Women’s 100m freestyle FINAL:

The Italian medal success was halted temporarily in the women’s 100m freestyle final where Marrit Steenbergen of the Netherlands claimed her first individual European title.

She finished in a time of 53.24 secs, with Charlotte Bonnet of France (53.62) and Britain’s Freya Anderson (53.63) taking silver and bronze respectively.

Women’s 800m freestyle FINAL:

Simona Quadarella has won three individual freestyle golds at the last two European Championships and remained on course to claim a ‘triple-triple’ by securing victory in the 800m distance after a thrilling final.

Germany’s Isabel Gose was a constant threat and pushed her Italian rival throughout much of this encounter, but would ultimately finish second, with Merve Tuncel of Turkey edging bronze ahead of her team-mate Deniz Ertan by just 0.61 secs.

“This means a lot to me because I really wanted to perform here in Rome which is my home and I’m so pleased I could do this for the spectators and my country,” said Quadrella.

Mixed 4x100m medley relay FINAL:

The mixed 4x100m medley relay made its European Championship debut at London 2016 and such was its success that it was selected for the Olympic programme for the first time at Tokyo 2020.

The Dutch won a relay gold for the second night in a row at Roma 2022 – Simone Castrovillari / LEN

As expected, this final delivered plenty of drama and entertainment with hosts Italy holding the lead at the halfway stage, but back came the Dutch to secure their second relay gold medal in as many days.

Italy would take silver, with Olympic champions Great Britain – missing several of their Tokyo 2020 line-up, battling back to claim bronze.

“That was a great performance from the team and it’s the perfect way to end my season,” Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands told LEN TV. “I think that’s the seventh competition in a row in which I’ve won a medal, so it’s great to finish this way.

By Nick Hope | LEN Digital MedIa

Aug 13 22

Minisini wins historic men’s solo gold

by ZwemZa

Minisini became a double world champion in June – Simone Castrovillari / LEN

Italy’s Giorgio Minisini became the first-ever male artistic swimmer to win an individual European Aquatics Championships title with victory in the Men’s Solo Technical Final.

The event, which was debuted at the European Junior Artistic Championships last month, is seen as an important step towards greater equality and boosting participation in the sport.

Double world champion Minisini attained a total of 85.7033 for a strong display while performing to ‘a plastic sea’ theme to claim gold.

Fernando Diaz of Spain (79.4951) took silver, with Serbian Ivan Martinovic (58.7033) completing the podium places.

Diaz (left), Minisini (centre) and Martinovic celebrate history – Simone Castrovillari / LEN

“It was important to be here and I’m super proud that we can be the first,” Minisini told LEN TV.

“It’s incredible to do this at home with all of the support and this is a historic moment so I can’t wait to see what else our sport can be.”

Diaz added; “It is a dream come true and one more chapter in Spain’s artistic swimming history.”

Bronze medallist Martinovic was also proud of his historic achievement, saying it was “an honour” to compete and hopes it boosts participation in his homeland.

“I would like to invite other athletes from Serbia and the region to join in!”

Men appeared in the mixed duet event at a major international competition for the first time at the 2015 Fina World Aquatics Championships before the event made its European debut at London 2016.

Minisini, who competed at Kazan 2015 and won world gold in the event in July, will return for the mixed duet final alongside team-mate Lucrezia Ruggiero on Saturday.

Women’s Solo Technical Final:

The women’s Solo Technical Final featured 21 athletes who wowed the judges and crowd with a series of stunning routines.

Simone Castrovillari / LEN

Just under 90 minutes after they began the scores were complete and Ukraine’s Marta Fiedina, who claimed two World titles at Budapest 2022, was confirmed as the champion.

It was her second gold of Roma 2022 following her nation’s Team Technical victory on Thursday.

Linda Cerruti of Italy took silver – her 16th European Championship medal, with Vasiliki Alexandri securing bronze.

“I am really happy,” said Fiedina. “I really gave everything I could at this moment and this is my best performance in the Technical Solo this year.”

Highlights Final:

Simone Castrovillari / LEN

The last artistic swimming final of the second day at Roma 2022 was the Highlights event which saw teams of 10 perform a series of acrobatic focused routines.

Marta Fiedina was again part of the Ukrainian line-up and was able to celebrate a further success after her team’s entertaining display to ‘Potpourri’ by Prime Orchestra.

The team achieved a brilliant total of 94.0667 with Italy (91.7000) and France (89.2000) taking silver and bronze respectively.

“For me personally it is a bit of a strange feeling because a year ago in Tokyo my sister and I were among the youngest in the team
and now we are the oldest ones, captains and somewhat of a big sisters to younger girls,” said Maryna Aleksiiva.

“This routine means a lot to us all and is dedicated to our country.”

Women’s Duet Free Preliminaries:

Simone Castrovillari / LEN

Ukrainian duet Maryna and Valdyslava Aleksiiva signalled their intent to secure another gold at Roma 2022 with a standout performance in the morning Free Preliminaries.

The twins, who claimed European team gold on day one and were part of Ukraine’s Highlights success on day two – attained a stunning total of 94.3667 for their performance.

Their nearest competitors were the Austrian’s Anna-Maria and Erini-Marina Alexandri (92.6000) who along with reserve and solo specialist Vasiiliki, are triplets.

Simone Castrovillari / LEN

Italy (90.6667) and Greece (90.000) are two other nations likely to be in contention for the medals when the Duet Free final takes place on Saturday afternoon (day 3) in Rome.

By Nick Hope | Len Digital Media

Aug 12 22

Star swimmers back in action at SA Short Course Championships

by ZwemZa

Lara van Niekerk (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Several stars of Team South Africa’s recent successful Commonwealth Games campaign were back in the pool as the SA Short Course Championships kicked off in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday.

Among them was double gold medallist in Birmingham, Lara van Niekerk, who wasted no time in securing a qualification time for the World Short Course Championships at the end of the year in Australia.

The Pretoria teenager swam 1:04.92 (already a qualifying time) on her way to victory in her morning 100m breaststroke heat and then went even quicker in the evening, taking the national title in a time of 1:04.89 – well under the required 1:06.18.

“I just tried to not put pressure on myself in any way,” said the 19-year-old. “I just wanted to come and enjoy the gala, just have a fun gala because the job has been done for now. I just wanted to come here, enjoy it, meet new people and see what I can do if I don’t put pressure on myself.”

Speaking about the events she will be focusing on in Pietermaritzburg, Van Niekerk added: “We just wanted to come and qualify in the breaststroke events – well, at least the 50 and 100 which I normally swim, and then the 200 would be a bonus.

“So now that I’ve got the 100, I’m halfway there so I’m just going to enjoy each race. I’m pretty sure I’ll get the 50m qualifying time, because I think I turned under the time in the 100 so I’m looking forward to that one.”

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – JULY 30: /Pieter Coetzé of South Africa in action winning gold in the Men’s 100m Backstroke during the Swimming event on day 2 of the 2022 Commonwealth Games at Sandwell Aquatics Centre on July 30, 2022 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Anton Geyser/Gallo Images)

Meanwhile, also in action in Pietermaritzburg was fellow teenager Pieter Coetzé, fresh off securing a full collection of gold, silver and bronze medals in the backstroke events at the Commonwealth Games.

Coetzé claimed the 200m backstroke SA short course title in a time of 1:51.36 which was also well under the world championship qualifying mark (1:52.66).

“It’s nice to come back and do some more racing,” he said. “I’m definitely a bit tired after all the racing we did there [in Birmingham] and everything but it’s a lot of fun and nice to start off with a qualifying time,” he said after the race.

Coetzé confirmed he’ll be aiming to qualify in the 50m and 100m events as well.

“I’m also doing the 50 free and 100 IM [individual medley]… I’m just keen to see where I’m at and have some fun. But it would be nice to get the qualifying times for all the backstroke events,” added the 18-year-old Olympian.

SA Short Course Championships action continues in Pietermaritzburg on Friday morning, with the meet coming to an end on Sunday, 14 August.

By Karien Jonckheere for Swimming South Africa

Aug 12 22

Razzetti gives Italy a golden start to Roma 2022 swimming

by ZwemZa

Alberto Razzetti says the home crowd were “key” to his European gold – Simone Castrovillari

Italy’s Alberto Razzetti secured the host nation a first gold medal in the pool on the opening night of Roma 2022 European Championship swimming finals at the iconic Stadio del Nuoto.

The individual medley specialist, who took silver in the 400m IM at the Budapest 2020 Europeans, claimed the top honour at this edition after a brilliant comeback performance.

Rival David Verraszto of Hungary (silver) and Italian team-mate Pier Andrea Matteazzi (bronze) joined Razzetti on the podium.

There were also gold medals for the Netherlands women and the Hungarian men in their respective 4x200m freestyle relay finals.

Men’s 400m individual medley:

Verraszto won the European 400m IM title at Berlin 2014, London 2016 and Glasgow 2018 before finishing fourth at last year’s edition and the now 33-year-old admits he considered quitting the sport after the Tokyo Olympics.

He led at the halfway staged, but roared on by the home fans, Razzetti surged back and then ahead. It was a lead he maintained on the final freestyle leg, finishing in four minutes 10.60 seconds.

Matteazzi edged a close finish against Hubert Kos of Hungary to claim the final podium position.

“The pressure was tremendous here in Rome, in front of our fans, but I did it and I’m overjoyed,” said Razzetti after collecting his gold medal.

“I know my rivals very well, I knew I had to stay close to them and stay focused for all the race. I did that, I gave my all and I’m really happy to open the championships with a gold.”

The Netherlands secure a “shock” Roma 2022 gold – Simone Castrovillari / LEN

Women’s 4x200m freestyle relay

The Dutch women are rarely podium contenders in this event, but after finding themselves in third after the first leg the team of Imani De Jon, Silke Holkenborg, Janna Van Kooten and Marrit Steenbergen progressed past Great Britain and Hungary to claim gold.

“We are shouting out our happiness, because this is our first medal in this event and it’s a long time since we swam together,” said Steenbergen.

“There were seven more teams in the final and one can always better you. However, today we were the best ones and we’re so happy to win this gold.”

4x200m freestyle victory secured Hungary a 100th European gold – Simone Castrovillari / LEN

Men’s 4x200m freestyle relay

The French men looked to be heading towards a dominant victory at the halfway stage of their final, before Hungarian 200m butterfly world record holder took over on the final leg and powered his side to victory.

A late surge from Italy’s Steffano di Cola secured silver for the hosts, with France taking bronze.

“It was easy to finish it off like this after my three fantastic buddies did a brilliant job,” said Milak of Hungary after the event. “This was a great race and we all feel great to win Hungary’s 100th European Championship gold medal in swimming.”

Other standout performances:

Despite only three finals on the opening night of swimming competition at Roma 2022 fans were treated to a series of stunning semi-final swims at the Stadio del Nuoto.

Men’s 100m breaststroke:

Among the main highlights was the chance for Italian spectators to see their new World champion Nicolo Martinenghi, who did not disappoint and set the quickest time (58.44 seconds) ahead of the 100m breaststroke final on Friday.

There he will face World silver medallist Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands who won the other semi-final in 59.29 secs.

“We are friends out of the pool, but enemies in it,” joked the Italian after his semi-final victory. “I’m really looking forward to racing Arno tomorrow.”

Women’s 200m backstroke:

Italian great Federica Pellegrini picked former team-mate Margherita Panziera as a ‘one-to-watch’ ahead of Roma 2022 and the two-time 200m backstroke European champion showed why, setting the quickest time (2:08.18) in the semi-finals.

British teenager Katie Shanahan – fresh from two bronze medals at the Commonwealth Games less than two weeks ago – could be her closest rival, after posting the second fastest time – 2:09.82.

Better known for backstroke, but Ceccon has a powerful butterfly too – Simone Castrovillari

Men’s 50m butterfly:

Unsurprisingly for a 50m ‘splash-and-dash’ event there was little to separate the quickest semi-finalists, but it was Nyls Korstanje of the Netherlands who secured lane four after finishing in 22.88 seconds.

His battle with Maxime Grousset of France (22.90), is likely to be one of the battles of day two, although the final will also feature Ukraine’s Andriy Govorov, who is the world record holder in the event.

Women’s 100m freestyle:

French Olympian Charlotte Bonnet won the 200m freestyle at Glasgow 2018 and will look to claim her first European 100m free title on Friday after qualifying in 53.56 secs.

Marrit Steenbergen, who would later be instrumental in the Netherland’s 4x200m success, warmed up for that final with the second fastest time – 53.80 secs.

For all of the latest results head to the LEN Roma 2022 Live Scoring site.

By Nick Hope | LEN Digital Editor

Aug 12 22

Ukraine claim first artistic swimming gold of Roma 2022

by ZwemZa

LEN President Antonio Silva presents Ukraine with gold medals – Simone Castrovillari / LEN

Ukraine’s artistic swimmers claimed the first gold medal of the LEN Roma 2022 European Aquatics Championships with an emotional victory in the Team Technical final at the Stadio Nicola Pietrangeli.

The Ukrainian squad has been hosted by the Italian Swimming Federation since the outbreak of war in their homeland and they produced a dazzling performance on the first day of competition in Rome.

Performing to an apt theme of ‘Fight for Olympus’ Ukraine, who were second at the Budapest 2022 European Championships, were cheered on by a large audience and achieved a total of 92.5106 for their impressive and entertaining display.

“We are very happy to open the Europeans in this way. It’s a great start for the team but also for each of us individually,” said five-time European champion Vladyslava Aleksiiva.

Team-mate and double Olympic bronze medallist Marta Fiedina added; “We have been training in Italy for five months and we are truly grateful for everything.”

“Of course I miss my family. My mum came to see us at the Worlds. It was the first time in months that we have been together and we are hoping to go back to Ukraine after the Europeans.”

Photo credit – Simone Castrovillari / LEN

Earlier Switzerland had opened the Team Technical Final competition to great applause with the crowd at the Stadio Nicola Pietrangeli venue excited to see the first medal event of the Roma 2022 European Aquatics Championships.

The Italian flags were soon waving wildly as the home nation were the second team to take to the water.

Performing to ‘We can be superheroes’ by Antongiulio Frulio, the eight-strong team, dazzled the crowd and the World championship bronze medallists attained a total of 90.3772 which would be enough for European silver.

“It was exciting,” stated Gemma Galli. “It was the first time altogether in an international competition and at home, it’s an incredible feeling and something that we are never going to forget. The audience gave us amazing support.”

Photo credit – Simone Castrovillari / LEN

Rounding off the podium places were the French, the penultimate team to compete in the eight-strong final.

Their energetic display to a remix of Daft Punk’s ‘Technology’ and ‘Harder, Better, Stronger’ tracks entertained the audience and the judges who awarded them a total of 88.0093.

“This is the result of all our hard work,” said French swimmer Eve Planeix:.

“We are very proud, we are moving up the rankings, this is giving us so much confidence and energy. We really fought for this and there is a lot of emotion.”

Photo credit – Simone Castrovillari / LEN

Women’s Solo – Preliminaries

Earlier in the day double Olympic bronze medallist Marta Fiedina topped the standings after the completion of the women’s solo free preliminaries.

The Ukrainian achieved a total of of 94.0000 to rank ahead of Italy’s Linda Cerruti (91.3000) and Evangelia Platanioti of Greece (91.0667).

“It’s very special for us to be here and important for our country,” Fiedina told LEN TV.

“At the World Championships (in June) we had lots of soldiers message us from home who were fighting and they were saying ‘good luck, we believe in you’ and now we have big motivation here in Rome.”

Photo credit – Simone Castrovillari / LEN

The women’s solo free final will take place on 14 August – day four of Roma 2022.

The second day of artistic swimming will see women’s duet teams compete in the free preliminaries before the finals for women’s Solo Technical, men’s Solo Technical and women’s Highlights in the afternoon.

For all of the latest results head to the LEN Roma 2022 Live Scoring site.

By Nick Hope | Len Digital Editor

Aug 10 22

Australian Games stars return to finalize Duel Squad

by ZwemZa

(Swimming Australia)

Following Australia’s most successful overseas Commonwealth Games swimming campaign, and second best in Games’ history, a number of medal winning stars from Birmingham have joined the now most successful Commonwealth Games athlete of all time, Emma McKeon, in the Dolphins’ squad for this month’s Duel in the Pool against the USA.

Fresh from her seven medal haul, including five Gold, Mollie O’Callaghan headlines the second wave of Dolphin talent which will see the Australians enter swimming’s ultimate rivalry as deserving favourites.

After an impressive Dolphins debut in Birmingham, including a Gold and Silver medal, Cody Simpson has also been named to line up against the USA on just his second Australian team.

O’Callaghan and Simpson are joined by fellow Commonwealth Games medallists Shayna Jack, Jenna Strauch, Lani Pallister, Sam Williamson, Brad Woodward and Mitch Larkin.

Retiring Paralympic legends Ellie Cole and Matt Levy have joined their final Dolphins team to lead the Para charge in the integrated event alongside Ash McConnell and Will Martin, while Open Water specialists Chelsea Gubecka, Kai Edwards and Kyle Lee have been added to the squad to contest the relay with Kareena Lee at Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach on the opening day of competition.

Rounding out the Dolphins squad are a number of Australian swimming’s next generation of rising talent including Se-Bom Lee, Mikayla Smith, Matilda Smith, Grayson Bell, Tom Nowakowski and Shaun Champion.

These athletes join the initial squad of 12 named last month ahead of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Dolphins Head Coach Rohan Taylor expressed his pride in what he believes will be a formidable squad for the visiting Americans to face.

“Our athletes relish every chance to wear the Gold cap, as most recently shown by the outstanding results in Birmingham,” Taylor said.

“Any Australian team you make is special, but when presented with the opportunity to face our greatest rival in front of a home crowd I know these athletes will step up to the challenge. Pressure is a privilege, and it is one we embrace.

“This team is a wonderful mix of generational stars and those forging a path right on their heels and I’d encourage our fans to ensure they are there to witness first hand some of the best athletes in the world go to work.”

Delivered in partnership with the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, Duel in the Pool will be the first time that USA Swimming have competed as a team on Australian shores since 2007.

Minister for Tourism Ben Franklin said Duel in the Pool would put a spotlight on Sydney as one the great sporting event cities of the world.

“Australia and USA are the two titans of world swimming with a great historic rivalry and both nations have put forward incredibly strong teams. Duel in the Pool is going to be an absolutely enthralling battle for swimming supremacy watched by millions of people on both sides of the Pacific, reaffirming Sydney’s position as the nation’s sporting events capital,” Mr Franklin said.

“The NSW Government is committed to delivering world-class events like Duel in the Pool that capture the world’s attention, to achieve our goal of making Sydney and NSW the events capital and premier visitor economy of the Asia Pacific.”

The Duel in the Pool commences at Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach on August 19, before two nights of an action packed pool program at Sydney Olympic Park on August 20-21.

Duel in the Pool is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.

2022 Duel in the Pool Australian Dolphins Team

Grayson Bell
Shaun Champion
Ellie Cole
Tamsin Cook
Kai Edwards
Chelsea Gubecka
Meg Harris
Chelsea Hodges
Mack Horton
Shayna Jack
Mitch Larkin
Kareena Lee
Kyle Lee
Se-Bom Lee
Matt Levy
Will Martin
Ash McConnell
Emma McKeon
Kaylee McKeown
Leah Neale
Tom Nowakowski
Mollie O’Callaghan
Lani Pallister
Cody Simpson
Brendon Smith
Matilda Smith
Mikayla Smith
Jenna Strauch
Zac Stubblety-Cook
Matt Temple
Brianna Throssell
Sam Williamson
Madi Wilson
Aug 10 22

ROMA 2022: Swimming Preview – Women to Watch

by ZwemZa

WHO ARE THE WOMEN-TO-WATCH AT ROMA 2022?

  • Roma 2022 swimming will run 11-17 Aug.
  • The open water programme runs 18-21 Aug.
  • For the full schedule and competition programme, head to the official website.

Young 2009 heroes, Sjöström and Hosszú are racing for the all-time glory…

Sarah Sjostrom (left) Katinka Hosszu (right)
Sarah Sjostrom (left) Katinka Hosszu (right) – LEN / Simeone Castrovillari

13 years ago the Foro Italico saw two young greats make breakthroughs in this very same pool.

Sweden’s Sarah Sjöström burst to the scene as a 15 years-old prodigy, clinching the World title in the 100m butterfly and Katinka Hosszú of Hungary also won her first major gold in the 400m individual medley.

She has gone on to secure 96 medals across major FINA and LEN events (Olympics, Worlds, Europeans, long- and short-course included) and is seeking to hit three figures in Rome.

Their goals are different, though. Sjöström made a successful return after a serious elbow injury she had suffered in February 2021. After missing the 2021 Europeans in Budapest, she managed to claim a silver medal in the 50m free at the Olympics in Tokyo, then enjoyed a great week at the short-course Worlds in Abu-Dhabi.

Sarah Sjostrom
Sarah Sjostrom won World 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly gold in Budapest – LEN / Simeone Castrovillari

This year, at the FINA Worlds in Budapest a few weeks ago, Sjöström rediscovered her super speed, winning the 50m free and 50m fly, as well as a silver medal in the 100m free.

Sjöström left the Budapest Worlds in June as the female swimmer with the most individual World Championship medals of all-time – with 19 podium places (10 gold). That leaves her only one shy of the all-time record count, still held by Michael Phelps (20).

And the Swede doesn’t seem to stop any time soon and here in Rome she can renew her rivalry with Hosszu for the No 1. spot on the all-time medal ranks at the long-course European Championships.

Hosszu retook the lead in Budapest (while Sjostrom was away), now she is 24-23 up, with 15 golds, 6 silvers and 3 bronzes. Though a triple seems a bit unlikely this time, still, she has a theoretical chance to catch up Franziska van Almsick (GER) who amassed the most European titles so far (18). Sjostrom stands with 14 golds, all from individual events, also a record.

Quadarella seeks triple-triple – Pilato faces duel with Meilutyte

Local hero Simona Quadarella will certainly be the top favourite in the long-distance freestyle events. The Italian won the 400, 800 and 1500m free in Glasgow 2018 as well as in Budapest 2021 – it was the first time in history that a swimmer achieved these back-to-back triples.

Pilato vs Meilutyte is likely to be one of the biggest rivalries during Roma 2022 – LEN / Simeone Castrovillari

Fellow Italian Benedetta Pilato will face a tough duel with ‘comeback Queen’ Ruta Meilutyte who had a stunning win at the London 2012 Olympics as a 15 years old, before an injury ahead of the Rio Games derailed her career and she later retired from the sport.

However, now back, she impressed by winning the 50m breaststroke gold at the FINA World Championships, ahead of Pilato, while the 17-year-old Italian claimed the 100m title.

Last May in Budapest Pilato won the sprint event in a new world record time of 29.30, so their head-to-head battle is likely to be one of the greatest show-downs of Roma 2022.

OTHER ONES-TO-WATCH:

Analia Pigree, of France, entered the international scene at the last short course Europeans and recently won her first medal (bronze 50m backstroke) at World Championships, with Poland’s Katarzyna Wasick (50m free silver) another to perform well at that event.

Analia Pigree won two European short course medals at Kaza 2021LEN / Simeone Castrovillari

Switzerland’s Maria Ugolkova and Lisa Mamie, are both likely to be multi-media contenders, as is Israel’s Anastasia Gorbenko who hopes to defend her title in the 200m individual medley.

Also keep an year out for Greece’s first-ever female European champion Anna Ntountounaki and France’s Marie Wattel in the 100m butterfly who shared Euro gold after a dead heat at the event in Budapest last year.

LEN

Aug 10 22

ROMA 2022: Swimming Preview – Men to Watch

by ZwemZa

WHO ARE THE MEN-TO-WATCH AT ROMA 2022?

  • Roma 2022 swimming will run 11-17 Aug.
  • The open water programme runs 18-21 Aug.
  • For the full schedule and competition programme, head to the official website.

READY TO RUMBLE: Milak, Ceccon, Popovici and Proud hunt for gold

Thomas Ceccon
Can Italian Ceccon add Euro gold to his world title at Roma 2022 – Photo: Simone Castrovillari/LEN

In June, two individual world records were set at the World Championships in Budapest, both by swimmers who are to shine in Rome as well: Kristof Milak and Thomas Ceccon.

Hungary’s superstar Kristof Milak has staged an unbeaten run in the 200m fly since Glasgow 2018. Last year he added the 100m title at the Europeans, he also won that event at the Worlds this June and he bettered his own world record in the 200m.

Italy’s Thomas Ceccon stunned the swimming pundits with his victory and his new world record in the 100m back at the Worlds in Budapest, pipping USA’s Ryan Murphy and Hunter Armstrong for the title – now he is back for more in front of the home fans.

David Popovici has made a rapid rise in the sport and won many new fans – Photo: Simone Castrovillari/LEN

Another top medal contender is Romania’s David Popovici, who first hit the headlines last year here in the Foro Italico by sweeping the 50-100-200m free titles at the junior Europeans, smashing junior WRs en route.

The 17-year-old made his real breakthrough at senior level this June at the World Championships by winning the 100m and 200m freestyle – the first to achieve that double since 1973. His match-up with Olympic champion Tom Dean, who just won an English record medal haul of seven at the Commonwealth Games, could be one of the races of Roma 2022.

Ben Proud
Ben Proud won the 50m freestyle title at Glasgow 2018 – LEN / Simeone Castrovillari

Another British swimmer in impressive form is sprinter Benjamin Proud who is looking for an incredible 50m freestyle treble. After winning World and Commonwealth gold medals over the last two months, he now seeks the European title to complete his set.

France’s 100m World silver and 50m free bronze medallist Maxime Grousset will be among those hoping to end his winning streak though.

THRILLER TO BE CONTINUED… Paltrinieri, Romanchuk and Wellbrock in the spotlight

5km open water winners
Frenemies’ Paltrinieri, Wellbrock and Romanchuk – Photo: Simone Castrovillari/LEN

The men’s long course freestyle events will once again be one of the Championships’ highlights. The only question is: who will be the main actor this time?

At Budapest 2021, it was Ukrainian Mykhaylo Romanchuk who claimed the top spot both in the 800 and 1500m freestyle, ahead of Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri. This spring Romanchuk was offered refuge and training opportunities with Florian Wellbrock away from Ukrainian. At the World Championships he claimed bronze medals in the 800m and 5km open water event.

Gregorio Paltrinieri on the other hand, presented a super show at this year’s World Championships, dominating the 1500m free on lane one from the beginning of the race.

In addition to that title – and a new European record of 14 minutes 32.80 seconds – the 27-year-old added gold and silver in the 10km and 5km open water events respectively.

And there is Wellbrock, the German emperor who did the open water-pool double (10km+1500m free) at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, triumphed at the Olympic 10km marathon in Tokyo where he also claimed silver in the 1500m free,

He also had a great run this June at the Worlds in Budapest: silver in the 800m, bronze in the 1500m, followed by world titles in 4x1500m relay and 5km open water races. He has struggled with a Covid infection since that event, but is still expected to be among the favourites.

BREASTSTROKE BRILLIANCE: Martinenghi vs Kamminga vs Wilby

Nicolo Martinenghi (left), Arno Kamming (centre), James Wilby – LEN / Simeone Castrovillari

Triple Olympic champion Adam Peaty has dominated four editions of the European Championships since his maiden successes at Berlin 2014, but will miss the 2022 edition.

He suffered a broken foot in May and despite returning to the pool for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham a week ago – and winning the 50m title – he was far from his best and decided he would take a number of months off after finishing fourth in the 100m event.

In his absence British team-mate and 2019 World silver medallist James Wilby will seek to claim a first individual European crown after two silvers at Glasgow 2018.

James Wilby
James Wilby won Commonwealth 100m breaststroke gold last month – LEN / Simeone Castrovillari

Dutchman Arno Kamminga and Italy’s upcoming breaststroke star Nicolo Martinenghi joined Peaty in making the 100m breaststroke Europe’s only medal sweep at the Tokyo Olympics.

Kamminga, left the World Championships in Budapest with mixed emotions. After finishing second in the 100m race, the Dutch had to withdraw from the event due to illness.

In Rome Kamminga, the second swimmer ever to dip under the 58-second threshold in the 100m breast, makes a new attempt to snatch his first European long course title.

But he needs to face a big challenge from Martinenghi who beat him in the 100m, came runner-up in the 50m at the Worlds and was also instrumental in Italy’s stunning medley relay win over the USA in June.

That success proved to be the perfect ending to Italy’s fairy-tale-like event as the swimming team produced the nation’s best-ever World Championship medal count in the pool with nine podiums. They will be expected to challenge for even more at a home Europeans.

Arno Kamminga is a double Olympic silver medallist – LEN / Simeone Castrovillari

OTHER ONES-TO-WATCH:

Austrian Felix Auboeck won Austria’s first ever freestyle medal in Budapest 2021 in the 400m free and will again be among the contenders, while Poland’s Ksawery Masiuk looks strong after an impressive 50m backstroke world bronze and impressive Euro junior medal haul.

Switzerland will be represented by Jeremy Desplanches, who surprised many by winning the 200m individual medley in Glasgow 2018, but also keep an eye-out for team-mates Roman Mityukjov, and Noé Ponti.

LEN

Aug 10 22

ROMA 2022: Swimming Preview – Facts & Stats

by ZwemZa

Foro Italico Showdown – Rome 2022 celebrates participation of 46 LEN member federations – 14 individual European Champions from Budapest 2021 to retain their respective titles

  • Roma 2022 swimming runs 11-17 August.
  • Roma 2022 open water runs 18-21 August.
  • For the full schedule and competition programme, head to the official website.
Official Roma 2022 medals. LEN / Simeone Castrovillari

Fans will be back on the stands in Rome to witness the last major long-course showcase of the swimming season with 557 swimmers from 46 LEN federations on the starting blocks.

As for Italy’s capital and the magnificent venues in the Foro Italico, it will be the first major international event here after the legendary pool complex hosted the 2009 FINA World Championships. That was the second edition here as Rome also played host in 1994.

Now the Eternal City is to stage its second European Championships too, the first was held in 1983.

Back then 30 events were in the programme, now 43 finals are schedules – and among the line-up is the unique 4x200m mixed free relay, contested only at the European Championships.

OVER 550 COMPETITORS – Italy, Britain and France with the largest teams

It comes as no surprise that host Italy entered the largest team and will compete with a total of 57 swimmers. Great Britain (41), France and Poland (both 30), Germany (29), Hungary (26), Sweden (25), the Netherlands (23) and Spain (22) will also provide strength in numbers and individual performances.

A total of 46 of the 52 LEN Member Federations are to send 557 athletes (according to the final entries, however, late withdrawals are still possible).

Last year in Budapest three nations, Great Britain, Italy and Russia continued to dominate. The top three nations combined medal tally (GBR 26, RUS 22, ITA 27) showed overwhelming performances: they took 75 medals altogether, 58% of the medals handed over.

In Glasgow 2018 they had 72 medals (55%). For the first time after Berlin 2014, Great Britain topped the medal chart in swimming as they won a record number of titles, 11.

Both this number and Italy’s 27 medals in total was a record since the mixed relay events have been inaugurated in 2014.

GB also set a new record by winning seven relay titles out of nine (finished 7-2-0 in relays, Russia was 2-2-1, Italy 0-1-7, Netherlands 0-3-0). With Russia not competing at this event, host Italy and Great Britain may have a chance to come up even stronger.

ROME 2009 – THE WORLD RECORD LEGACY THAT STILL REMAINS

Rome 2009 – a golden and world-record-flooded event – LEN / Simeone Castrovillari

Thirteen years ago, at the 2009 FINA World Championships, the Foro Italico witnessed a real flood of world records, thanks to the ‘super-suits; which were subsequently banned at the end of that season.

Almost all events had a new global mark by the end of the meet (43 new WRs were set in total) and many speculated that those times would remain untouchable for many years.

However, the next generations of brilliant athletes started to bring down the ‘unbeatable’ records in succession. As of today, only six world records are still standing in the men’s events and only one survived in the women’s events from the Rome WR-massacre.

Here are the times are yet to beat from Rome 2009.

Men

100m free: 46.91 by Cesar Cielo (BRA)

200m free: 1:42.00 by Paul Biedermann (GER)

400m free: 3:40.07 by Paul Biedermann (GER)

800m free: 7:32.12 by Zhang Lin (CHN)

200m back: 1:51.92 by Aaron Peirsol (USA)

4x200m free: 6:58.55by the United States.

Other ‘shiny WRs to beat (not set in Rome): 50m free: 20.91 (by Cielo), 400m IM: 4:03.84 (by Michael Phelps, since 2008, the oldest standing individual WR), 4x100m free: 3:08.24 (by the USA, since 2008).

Kristof Milak
Kristof Milak one of the biggest world record breaking contenders in Rome. Photo: Simone Castrovillari/LEN

Women

200m free: 1:52.98 by Federica Pellegrini (ITA)

Other WR from 2009: 200m fly: 2:01.81 by Liu Zige (CHN).

Federica Pellegrini celebrates gold and a world record at Rome 2009. LEN / Simeone Castrovillari

YOUNGSTERS AND VETERANS:

A 14-year-old Hana Beiqi from Kosovo will be the youngest competitor in the field, she was born on 8 September 2008.

Italy’s Lorenzo Galossi is the youngest male swimmer, he turned 16 in May and he is fresh from winning two titles (400-800m free) at the junior Europeans in Otopeni last month.

Spain’s Jessica Vall (33) a two-time silver medallist in the 200m breaststroke (2016, 2018) is the oldest among the women while Italy’s three-time European champion Fabio Scozzoli (34) who celebrated his birthday earlier this month, is the most senior male swimmer.

A NEW GENERATION OF STARS?

In Rome, new European champions will be crowned in 16 individual events (seven women, nine men) as the 2021 title-holders will not participate. However, 14 Budapest champions – out of 34 individual events – will try to retain their respective titles.

Since the last editions a number a number of former champions have decided to step away from the sport. Six-time Olympic medallist Hungarian Laszlo Cseh, who won 14 individual long course European titles competed in a record 10 editions between 2002 and 2021.

Among the women, Italy’s 200m freestyle queen Federica Pellegrini (whose world record from Rome 2009 is still standing), and two Dutch greats, Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Femke Heemskerk, who won three titles in Budapest 2021 between them have retired since last year’s Olympics.

FULL POOL SWIMMING PROGRAMME:

For more information about the ‘ones-to-watch’ head to the swimming and latest news pages on the LEN website.

LEN

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