By guest writer Julia Wilkinson-Minks (2008 & 2012 Canadian Olympian)
MERSIN, Turkey, June 22. CONTINUING where it left off last night, Italy won the first gold medal of the second night of racing at the 2013 Mediterranean Games in Mersin, Turkey.
Friday's finals began with the men's 50-meter freestyle, and Italy's Marco Orsi and Luca Dotto finished first and second in 22.15 and 22.20, respectively. Orsi was a member of Italy's Olympic team last summer in London.
In the women's 50-meter freestyle, Anna Santamans of France narrowly missed breaking the 25-second barrier, winning in a time of 25.03. Santamans placed 11th at the 2012 Olympic Games in this event, and this is her second gold medal at this Mediterranean Games after winning the 400-meter freestyle relay last night.
Following the lead of his teammate, fellow French swimmer Benjamin Stasiulis won the 200-meter backstroke handily ahead of a tie by two Italians, Federico Turrini and Damiano Lestingi. Stasiulis won in a time of 1:58.66, the Italians were a full second behind in 1:59.72.
In the women's 200-meter backstroke, the Italians had their second 1-2 punch of the evening. Ambra Esposito took the gold in 2:12.21 and Margherita Panziera was second in 2:12.86.
Ivan Lender of Serbia won the men's 100-meter butterfly in 52.30, making him back-to-back Mediterranean Games Champion in this event. Italy was back on top in the women's 100-meter butterfly, when Ilaria Bianchi and Elena Di Liddo came first and second in 58.63 and 59.23 respectively.
Italy finished the night just as they had started, with another win in the men's 400-meter freestyle relay. The team of Gianluca Maglia, Marco Orsi, Luca Leonardi and Luca Dotto finished ahead of second place Turkey in 3:15.99.
Julia Wilkinson-Minks is a two-time Olympian for Canada and was a finalist in the 200-meter IM at the 2008 Beijing Games. In 2010, she became Texas A&M's first ever NCAA champion in swimming when she won the 100-yard freestyle. She graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Speech Communication. Julia retired from competitive swimming following the London Olympic Games and now lives in Texas with her husband Shane.
Follow her on twitter @juliah2o