European Championships: Italians Benedetta Pilato, Lisa Angiolini Post 1-2 Finish in 100 Breaststroke

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Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

European Championships: Italians Benedetta Pilato, Lisa Angiolini Post 1-2 Finish in 100 Breaststroke

Benedetta Pilato was only 14 years old when she earned her first international medal, a silver behind Lilly King in the 50 breaststroke at the 2019 World Championships. Two years later, she became a world-record holder in the event, and in 2022, she has become one of the world’s best in the 100 breast. Pilato won a tightly-contested World Championships final in June by five hundredths, and now she is the European champion.

The 17-year-old Italian went wire-to-wire Saturday evening in Rome. She went out in 30.75, just ahead of Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte, and she extended the margin down the stretch to earn gold. Pilato won in 1:05.67, knocking three hundredths off her season-best time, and she remained at No. 5 in the world rankings for 2022 behind Reona AokiLilly KingLara Van Niekierk and Anna Elendt.

And behind Pilato, it was a 1-2 finish for Italy as countrywoman Lisa Angiolini, almost 10 years older than Pilato got ahead of Meilutyte to take silver in 1:06.34. Angiolini swam a best time of 1:06.00 in prelims to claim the second seed, and with only two swimmers per country allowed in the semifinals, she needed that swim to beat out Arianna Castiglioni and Martina Carraro for the second Italian spot in the race.

“It feels great to continue winning medals at big championships,” Pilato said. “I’m very satisfied but also very happy for Lisa’s result. It was hard but we totally deserved it. It feels great in front of this fantastic crowd. My time is OK after such a long season.”

Meilutyte, the current European record holder and second-fastest swimmer in history at 1:04.35, grabbed bronze in 1:06.50. Fellow Lithuanian Kotryna Teterekova took fourth in 1:06.61, followed by Ireland’s Mona McSharry (1:07.14) and NCAA champion Sophie Hansson of Sweden (1:07.31).

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