Italy Winter Open: Ian Thorpe Races in First Long Course Meet in Five Years

RICCIONE, Italy, December 16. IAN Thorpe competed in his first long course race in more than five years today, swimming the 100 freestyle at the Italian Winter Open. The meet is being run in a timed finals format, with separate events held in the morning and afternoon sessions.

Thorpe placed 16th overall in the 100 free with a 50.84. Among Australians, the time ranks him 13th in 2011 and is far from his lifetime best of 48.56 from 2004. The event was won today by Luca Dotto in 48.78, well off the 48.24 he swam at the world championships which ranks him in a tie for ninth in the world. Filippo Magnini, the 2007 co-world champion in this event, was second in 48.82. Magnini's best time of 2011 is a 48.36 from the world championships. Sebastien Verschuren of the Netherlands placed third with a 49.03, off his best 2011 time of 48.27.

In the morning session today, Cesare Sciocchetti started things off with a win in the men's 400 freestyle with a 3:51.91. Alex Di Giorgio was second in 3:52.56, and Verschuren was third with a 3:53.09.

Elena Gemo won the women's 50 backstroke in 28.60, ahead of Arianna Barbieri, who touched second in 29.04. Carlotta Zofkova took third in 29.17.

Milorad Cavic of Serbia, the 2009 world champion in the 50 fly who trains in Italy, won that event in 23.94, just off his best time of 2011, a 23.59 swum at the world championships. Paolo Facchinelli out-touched Holland's Joeri Verlinden for second place, 24.04-24.07.

Federica Pellegrini, the reigning world champion in the 200 freestyle and Swimming World Magazine's Female European Swimmer of the Year, won the women's 200 free in 1:56.79. Pellegrini owns the third-fastest time in the world with a 1:55.58. France's Ophelie Etienne was well back in second with a 1:59.67, and Alice Nesti was third with a 2:00.32.

Fabio Scozzoli, who earned the silver medal in the 50 breast at worlds, won that event today with a 27.42, off the 27.17 that he swam at the world championships. Mattia Pesce was second in the race today with a 27.62, while Nicolo Ossola took third with a 27.92.

Chiara Boggiatto and Michela Guzzetti battled in the women's 100 breast, with Boggiatto barely getting the win in 1:09.53. Guzzetti settled for second with a 1:09.58. Ilaria Scarcella was third with a 1:10.36.

Luca Marin, a world championship medalist in the 400 IM in 2007, won today in 4:17.06, closely followed by Federico Turrini's 4:18.21. Well back in third was Matteo Pelizzari with a 4:22.61.

Elena di Liddo won the women's 100 fly with a 58.66, out-touching Ilaria Bianchi, who was second with a 58.85. Silvia di Pietro was third in 1:00.30.

The Fiamme Oro Roma team won the men's 400 freestyle relay with a 3:19.02, helped by a 48.10 anchor leg by Marco Orsi. Magnini almost caught Orsi on the final leg, splitting a 47.59 to help Larus Nuoto place second with a 3:19.15. Circolo Canottieri Aniene was third with a 3:20.88.

In the women's 400 free relay, Pellegrini posted a 54.51 anchor leg to help the Circolo Canottieri Aniene A team win the event in 4:07.52. Centro Sportivo Esercito placed second with a 4:11.29, and the Circolo Canottieri Aniene B team was third in 4:11.61.

Today's second session started with the men's 200 butterfly, won by Niccolo Beni in 1:57.86. Francesco Pavone was second in 1:58.70 and France's Jordan Coelho took third with a 1:58.80.

Elena Gemo earned the backstroke double today, taking the 200 in 2:13.21. Roberta Ioppi was second with a 2:15.11, and Federica Sorriso placed third in 2:15.27.

Flavio Bizzarri won the men's 200 breast with a 2:12.51, using a quick final 50 meters to pull away from Edoardo Giorgetti, who was second with a 2:13.62. Luca Pizzini took third in 2:13.65.

Estonia's Triin Aljand, a former swimmer at Texas A&M University, won the 50 free in 25.34. Second place went to Erica Buratto with a 25.70, and Miroslava Najdanovski of Serbia was third in 25.80.

Jeremy Stravius, the reigning co-world champion in the 100 back, won the event today in 54.65, well off his 52.76 from worlds. Nick Driebergen of the Netherlands couldn't keep pace with Stravius after 50 meters, touching second in 54.97. Sebastiano Ranfagni was third with a 55.09.

Rachele Bruni won the women's 800 freestyle with an 8:37.77. Martina Caramignoli placed second with an 8:38.98, and Martina de Memme took third in 8:40.18.

Stefania Pirozzi took the women's 200 IM in 2:15.60, with Alessia Polieri placing second in 2:17.94. Third place went to Marussia Pietrocola with a 2:18.46.

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