Italian Nationals: Righi Sets National Record in the 800m

LIVORNO, Italy, April 8. A record-breaking 800 meter freestyle swim by Andrea Righi, gold medalist a couple of years ago at the World University Games, highlighted the opening day of the Italian Swimming Championships (50 M) at the Giovanni Baldacci e Dolfini Pool here. The meet is also serving as Italy's World Championship qualifying competition.

Righi clocked 7:57.02 to break the old Italian record of 7:59.83 set by distance star Emeliano Brembilla four years ago. Righi's previous pr was an 8:01.01 at the WUGs in Palma de Mallorca in 1999.

The 21-year-old Righi was out in 3:55.87 for his initial 400 and his 800 meter time ranks him third globally for the year behind Australia's world record-setter, Ian Thorpe, and Grant Hackett, who also swam under the former world record (7:46.00) set by Kieren Perkins in 1994.

Second was Constante Minotti (pr 7:57.52 and a World Championship qualifying mark) while Brembilla was third (8:01.27) and Sydney gold, silver and bronze medalist, Massi Rosolino, was fourth (8:03.54). Rosolino's achievements in Sydney are viewed with considerable skepticism, after it was revealed last November that he had tested with astronomical levels of human growth hormone last June.

The 800 was the meet's sole race held opening day for men. On the women's side, the only race swum was the 1500, won by Simona Ricciardi in 16:42.07.

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