2021 European Aquatics Championships: Paltrinieri Gets Golden Hat-Trick As Italy Win Team Event

BRUNI Rachele, PALTRINIERI Gregorio, GABBRIELLESCHI Giulia, ACERENZA Domenico ITA Gold Medal Team Event 5 km Open Water Budapest - Hungary 15/5/2021 Lupa Lake XXXV LEN European Aquatic Championships Photo Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia /

Gregorio Paltrinieri brought his gold-medal tally to three in the space of four days as Italy won the 5k team event at the European Aquatics Championships at Lupa Beach.

Paltrinieri swam an astonishing third 1.25k leg of 12:53.1 as Domenico Acerenza brought the Italian quartet home with a nine-second winning margin in 54.09.

Behind him a battle royale had unfolded with a three-way sprint down the final metres with only 0.07 separating Germany, Hungary and France at the touch.

Link to results

Italy team event

Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

Paltrinieri hadn’t won an individual international medal in the open water before Wednesday but now he has two to his name and both of them gold after the 5/10k double.

Come Saturday afternoon and he was back in Lake Lupa, taking over in second place after the opening legs by Rachele Bruni (13:48.7) and Giulia Gabrielleschi (14:17.2).

Russia held a 20.8-second lead after Denis Adeev had steered them to the head of the field but Paltrinieri set about obliterating that with the swiftest leg of the entire race.

The Italian had turned the race on its head and handed over to Acerenza with a 14.2-sec lead over France after Logan Fontaine had steered them through from fourth in 13:05.7.

Acerenza came home in 13.50 as the quartet celebrated gold after taking silver at the 2019 World Championships.

Paltrinieri said:

“Three out of three – it’s like a dream coming true. I never thought of anything similar to what happened in these past days.

“I just came here to have a couple of good swims and do my best – to help the team win this gold is really amazing.”

Florian wellbrock open water Budapest

Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

World 10k champion Florian Wellbrock (12:98.6) saw Germany head the sprint finish as they stopped the clock at 54.18.0 ahead of Hungary (54.18.5) after Kristof Rasovszky’s 12:98.9 propelled them on to the podium as France, with Marc-Antoine Olivier on the final leg, were locked out by 0.02 in 54:18.7.

Italy: Rachele Bruni – Giulia Gabbrielleschi – Gregorio Paltrinieri – Domenico Acerenza

Germany: Lea Boy – Leonie Beck – Rob Muffels – Florian Wellbrock

Hungary: Reka Rohacs – Anna Olasz – David Betlehem – Kristof Rasovszky

Wellbrock said:

“I wouldn’t say the plan worked as it was to catch the Italians which we could not achieve. Still, it was a good race and we should be happy with this silver medal.”

Rasovszky was more satisfied, saying:

“This is the best thing one can imagine, winning a medal in team.

“Everyone gave its absolute best, the only thing we are missing is the fans, just image we achieve this with thousands of people around.

“Anyway, we are super happy and I see a fantastic potential in this team since the little kid (David Betlehem) will be 10cm higher, gain 10 more kilos too and then he will be our deadliest weapon at the World Championships next year.”

Paltrinieri finishes his open water campaign with three golds with Gabrielleschi (5k silver) and Bruni (10k bronze) also paying more than one visit to the podium.

With Dario Verani claiming 5k bronze in the men’s race, it has already added up to a glittering campaign for the Italians with the 25k to come.

There’s the potential of more medals to come with Alessio Occhipinti and Simone Ruffini – who finished third and fourth respectively at the 2019 World Championships – among the Italian entrants.

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