LIVORNO, Italy, March 14. ALESSANDRA Pelligrini, who set a national record in the 100 free (lcm) of 54.40 just a few days ago, is definitely one hot prospect.
But the 15 year-old is not the only Italian sprinter making waves during the Italian Winter Nationals here this weekend, which conclude later today.
Indeed not, as 22-year-old Filippo Magnini has just set an NR of his own in the 100 free, 49.12, during the semifinals today. The finals are scheduled for this evening. The old Italian standard was 49.23 by Lorenzo Vismara leading off Italy's 400 freestyle relay at the Sydney Olympics.
Mangini's previous career best was a 49.41 from last year's World Championships while leading off the prelims of the relay. His time ranks him second globally for 2004 behind American Michael Phelps' 49.05 from the U.S. Nationals in Orlando last month.
Magnini also went a pr 1:47.20 to win the 200 free, dropping his old carer best by two seconds. His old pr was a 1:49.4, also done leading off his country's 800 free relay in the heats at Barcelona. The Italian 200 record is 1:46.60 by Massi Rosolino from the 200 free semis at Sydney. He went 1:46.65 to win the bronze in the finals Rosolino is in Australia training in Melbourne.
Pelligrini's NR was swum in the semis. In the finals she went 54.75, still an excellent time — especially for a 15-year-old. She got her second NR in the 50 with a 25.47, breaking Christina Chiuoso's 25.57 from two years ago Chiuoso also improved upon her pr with a 25.50 for runner-up. Vismara won the men's 50 in a 22.35 His pr/NR is 22.06 from the World Military Championships in Zagreb, Croatia five years ago.
Another Italian record that fell was in the women's 100 breast, where Chiara Boggiatto, sister of Italy's 2001 400 IM World Champion Alessio, splashed to a 1:09.32 in the semis of the 100 breast to break a record that had lasted for nearly 20 years. In the finals she was 1:09.35. And in the 100 back — as was reported earlier — Alessandra Cappa went a NR 1:01.94 in the semis and won the finals with a 1:02.12.
Swsiss miss, Flavia Rigamonti, former NCAA 500-1650 free champ for Coach Steve Collins' Southern Methodist University Mustangs, who is now training in Italy, who the 1500 with a "lesiurely" (for her) 16:18.97. That's 13 seconds off her best time, 16:05.99, from the World Championships three years ago where she was silver medalist. The 1500 is not an Olympic event but Rigamonti's been 4:11+/8:25+ in the 400-800 frees and could be among the favorites at Athens.
The 200 breast for men was a solid race too with several prs swum, including a 2:13.17 by 19-year-old Paolo Bossini and a 2:13.91 by Loris Facci (21). The latter won the 100 (pr 1:02.35) with Bossini (1:02.50) second.
While their times weren't unduly fast, a couple of thirtysomethings(backstrokers Luis Laera and Emanuelle Merisi) showed there's still some life left in those old bones. Laera , 33, won the 100 in 55.95 with Merisi, 31, next at 56.23. Mirko Mazzari, 28, won the 200 (2:00.39). No word yet whether this trio will compete in the World Masters Championships in Riccione, Italy, in June.
In the men's 200 fly, newcomer Paolo Villa won in a pr 1:58.98. The Italian record is 1:58.20 by Christian Galenda from the semis of the World Championships in Fukuoka three years ago.
The European Championships are slated to open in Madrid May 15 and this meet likely served as Italy's qualifying competition.