By guest writer Julia Wilkinson-Minks (2008 & 2012 Canadian Olympian)
MERSIN, Turkey, June 25. AFTER five days of competition at the 2013 Mediterranean Games, the Italian swimmers thoroughly proved that they were the swimmers to beat in Mersin.
In the first event of the evening, familiar face Damir Dugonjic of Slovenia won the men's 50-meter breaststroke in 27.63. Dugonjic was a finalist in the 100-meter breaststroke at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and was also an NCAA Champion in the 100-yard breaststroke for Cal in 2010.
Italy won its first of 4 gold medals on this final night of competition in the women's 50-meter breaststroke: 2012 Olympian Michela Guzzetti won in 31.51.
In the men's 200-meter butterfly, Velimir Stjepanovic of Serbia won another gold medal in these games, winning in 1:56.19. On the women's side, Italy's Stefania Pirozzi took gold in 2:09.83.
Italy capped off their gold rush of a meet by winning both relays. The men's 400-meter medley relay of Matteo Milli, Andrea Toniato, Piero Codia and Gianluca Maglia finished two seconds ahead of second-place Greece in 3:38.25. In the women's 400-meter medley relay, Elena Gemo, Giulia De Ascentis, Elena Di Liddo, and Silvia Di Pietro blew away the field, winning in 4:04.85.
Italy's medal haul was substantial at this year's Mediterranean Games: 51 total medals, 20 gold, 19 silver and 12 bronze. As far as the 2020 Olympic bid goes, you can bet that Turkey will have Italy's vote.
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