RICCIONE, Italy, April 13. THE Italian Nationals came to a close with plenty of close calls as well as a few dominant performances. In one of the most exciting races of the night, with six swimmers all within striking distance of the title, Alex Di Giorgio emerged triumphant with a personal best.
Di Giorgio won the men's 200-meter freestyle in a lifetime best effort of 1:48.12. That swim cleared his previous best of 1:48.36 from the Mare Nostrum circuit in 2012. Meanwhile, multiple world champion Filippo Magnini touched just behind in 1:48.42 in what proved to be an exciting finish with six swimmers all in the 1:48s.
Damiano Lestingi (1:48.48), Gianluca Maglia (1:48.52), Federico Turrini (1:48.62) and Andrea D'Arrigo (1:48.91) all turned in strong times in contention for the win, but Di Giorgio has just a bit too much down the stretch with a 27.44 final 50 to snag the title.
Michela Guzzetti kicked off the meet with a win by the slimmest of margins in the women's 100-meter breaststroke. She raced to a 1:08.22 to win the event as Lisa Fissneider took second in 1:08.23. Giulia De Ascentis also posted a 1:08 with a third-place 1:08.84.
Francesco Pavone dominated the men's 200-meter fly with a 1:56.43, a half-a-second outside the Italian record of 1:55.94 held by Davide Natullo. Gherardo Bruni placed second in 1:58.95, while Niccolo Beni touched third in 1:59.34.
Ilaria Bianchi produced the second straight close call among the women with a 25.52 to 25.59 touchout triumph ahead of Silvia Di Pietro in the women's 50-meter free. Erika Ferraioli, meanwhile, finished third in 25.64 in the splash-and-dash.
Niccolo Bonacchi raced to victory in the men's 50-meter backstroke with a time of 25.25, while Stefano Pizzamiglio turned in a 25.33 to take second in the sprint back event. Mirco Di Tora rounded out the podium with a third-place 25.56.
Luca Pizzini prevailed in the men's 200-meter breaststroke with a tie of 2:11.27, powering past Flavio Bizzarri en route to the title. Bizzarri had lead at the 150-meter mark with a 1:37.92, but settled for second in 2:11.97 after Pizzini dropped a 33.80 final 50 meter split. Edoardo Giorgetti touched thirdin 2:12.06.
Stefanie Pirozzi blasted the field in the women's 200-meter IM with a time of 2:13.71, while Carlotta Toni touched well behind with a second-place time of 2:16.41. Giulia De Ascentis picked up her second third-place time of the day with a 2:17.00.
In the women's 800-meter free, Martina De Memme hit the wall in 8:31.46 for the win. Aurora Ponsele placed second in 8:33.18, while Martina Rita Caramignoli took home third in 8:35.16.