RICCIONE, Italy, April 11. FEDERICA Pellegrini's focus on the backstroke events at the Italian nationals almost paid off with a national record in the 200 back today.
Pellegrini, the world record holder in the 200 and 400 freestyles, almost took down Alessia Filippi's Italian record of 2:08.03 with a winning time of 2:08.05. The time puts Pellegrini second in the world behind the event's world record holder, Missy Franklin, who swam a 2:07.31 in January, and just ahead of Australia's Meagan Nay's 2:08.39 to put her in the conversation for a medal in the event at the world championships. Pellegrini swam alone for pretty much the entire race, with Ambra Esposito second with a 2:12.18 and Carlotta Zofkova in third place with a 2:12.44.
Piero Codia won the men's 50 butterfly with a 23.72, ahead of new 100 fly national record holder Matteo Rivolta's 23.81 and sprint freestyle specialist Luca Dotto's 24.14.
Stefania Pirozzi broke away from the field from the start and dominated the women's 400 IM with a winning time of 4:39.79, her first time under 4:40. Carlotta Toni was well back in second with a 4:47.14, and Luisa Trombetti took third with a 4:48.34.
Samuel Pizzetti and Gabriele Detti exchanged leads throughout the 400 freestyle final, with Pizzetti taking the win in 3:48.44 over Detti's 3:48.51. Andrea D'Arrigo, who will be attending the University of Virginia in the fall, placed third with a lifetime best of 3:50.47.
Federico Turrini won the men's 200 backstroke with a lifetime best of 1:58.07, beating national record holder Damiano Lestingi, who touched second with a 1:59.66. Mattia Aversa was third with a 1:59.94.
Ilaria Bianchi, the national record holder in the women's 100 fly with a 57.27 from the London Olympics, won that event today with a 58.14. Elena di Liddo was second with a 59.97, while Valentina Zonno placed third in 1:00.01.
GS Fiamme Oro Roma won the men's 400 free relay with a 3:16.54 on the strength of Marco Orsi's 48.23 anchor leg. Centro Sportivo Esercito took the women's 800 free relay with a time of 8:10.53.