Gregorio Paltrinieri Moves From Morini To Antonelli As Olympic 1500m Champion Shifts Goals From Pool To Open Water

In the picture: Gregorio Paltrinieri ITA, 003659
Gregorio Paltrinieri - Photo Courtesy: Arena

Gregorio Paltrinieri Says Time To Say Goodbye To His Mentor Of Nine Years Stefano Morini & Pays Plaudits To ‘More Than A Coach … He’s Family’

Olympic 1500m freestyle champion Gregorio Paltrinieri is to split with Stefano Morini, his coach of nine years, in a move away from the Italian swimming federation training centre at Ostia to join the Italian national open water squad working under the guidance of Fabrizio Antonelli.

Paltrinieri’s training partner Domenico Acerenza is to follow the first Italian to claim Olympic 1500m gold in the same move.

Paltrinieri’s move represents the first seismic shift in the goal of an Olympic swimming champion as a result of the  COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The one-year postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has brought on an acceleration of Paltrinieri’s desire to shift up from an 800-1500 focus with some open water on the side to an open-water focus aimed at doubling his count of Olympic gold.

Antonelli is the coach of one of Italy’s most successful open water swimmers, Rachele Bruni, the Olympic marathon silver medallist, three=times World-Championship podium placer and eight-times European champion in distances of 5km and 10km, solo and team.

“I feel like the child telling his family that he is going to leave home”

Stefano MORINI Selfie con atleti azzurri Copenhagen 11-12-2017 Royal Arena LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships - Campionati Europei nuoto vasca corta Foto Andrea Staccioli / Insidefoto / Deepbluemedia

Stefano Morini and family – Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Insidefoto / Deepbluemedia

Gregorio Paltrinieri, of Carpi, paid plaudits to Moroni in a statement through the Italian swim federation (FIN):

“Without ‘Il Moro’ I would never have become a champion.  You never want some stories to end; Morini was much more than just a coach. I arrived at the federal centre with dreams, hopes and goals, almost every one of which we have achieved. I was a kid and now I’m a man … when I arrived [at Ostia] I shared a room with Detti, we were teenagers. Since then, we graduated, we have won medal after medal. We have got beyond our single room and now I live in my own house, a few metres from the centre with my partner, Letizia.

Morini is the best coach who could ever have trained me, develop me, support me in life as well as on the poolside. Our relationship goes far beyond the swimming pool: he is one of the family. Also for this reason I believe it is right to make this choice. I feel like the child telling his family that he is going to leave home, with all the responsibilities that follow. It is a further moment of growth. At the same time I also feel excitement because I will totally immerse myself in another type of project, with enormous stimuli and matching ambitions. I feel the need to engage with a coach more specialised in marathon swimming. Open water is a discipline that I’ve loved since I was a kid and I have faith [in being successful] … which is why I’m turning to Fabrizio Antonelli.”

Gregorio Paltrinieri’s training base will remain in Rome but his work placed will no longer be the centre at Ostia. Says Paltrinieri:

“I leave the federal centre but I’m sure I will always find a place back there if necessary. It will be difficult to walk through the gates with the feeling of not going back the following day for training, even just to have breakfast and greet friends.”

The Italian swim federation (FIN) issued a statement confirming the move, our colleagues at Italy’s leading aquatics website noted.

Calling Gregorio Paltrinieri‘s move “the bravest turn in his career”, the federation describes the Olympic 1500m champions “ambitious goal for the Tokyo Games ” as a demonstration of “clear choices: thoughtful … and supported by clarity, determination and responsibility”.

Paltrinieri’s passage from 16-year-old prospect to a “25-year-old man with as many medals (as his years) at Olympic, World and European” levels (including 1 Olympic, 4 World and 8 European titles over 800m and 1500m free) has included the support of Morini and great training partners such as Gabriele Detti, the Olympic bronze medallist over 400m and 1500m.

The federation’s statement noted: “The decision – taken in agreement with the federation and the club (Fiamme Oro and Coopernuoto) – in no way undermines the special relationship built over the years with Morini, who obviously will continue to manage the federal center of Ostia and its champions. Paltrinieri – who during the lock down continued to live in his home in Ostia by swimming in the sea as soon as it was possible to do so – wishes to underline the esteem that binds him to Morini, “coach of the year” from 2014 to 2017.”

Paltrinieri thanked ‘the Italian federation, its president Paolo Barelli, the director at Ostia, Pino Castellucci, and the team at the training centre “who pampered and helped me”.


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