Italian Championships: Margarita Panziera, Simona Quadarella Snag Olympic A Cuts on Final Day

Margherita Panziera of Italy reacts after competing in the 200m Backstroke Women Semifinal during the 20th World Aquatics Championships at the Marine Messe Hall A in Fukuoka (Japan), July 28th, 2023.
Margarita Panziera -- Photo Courtesy: Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Italian Championships: Margarita Panziera, Simona Quadarella Snag Olympic A Cuts on Final Day

A pair of veteran Italian swimmers swam under the Olympic “A” qualification standards on the final day of their country’s national championship meet in Riccione. Margarita Panziera, the winner of three consecutive European titles in the 200 backstroke, posted a solid time in her signature event as she prepares for her third Olympic Games while veteran distance star SArimona Quadarella raced well in the 400 freestyle after winning world titles over 400 and 800 meters last month in Doha.

Panziera was the wire-to-wire winner of the 200 back, but she got a push from 19-year-old Erika Francesca Gaetani, who was within a half-second until the 150-meter mark. Panziera was able to slightly extend her lead on the final length as she came home in 33.12, and she claimed the win in 2:09.08, but Gaetani never went away. The teenager ended up swimming a time of 2:09.70, knocking more than two-and-a-half seconds off her best time, with Francesca Freesia third (2:12.22). With the “A” qualifying standard for the Paris Olympics standing at 2:10.39, both Panziera and Gaetani

As for Quadarella, her time of 4:06.55 in the 400 free easily eclipsed the requisite mark of 4:07.90. She will be a serious medal threat in the two longer events in Paris, and she could make the final in the 400.Antonietta Sarano placed second in 4:11.09, overtaking Linda Caponi (4:11.72) on the last 50.

Additional highlight swims came in the 50 breaststroke, where Olympic qualification was not on the line. Former world-record holder Benedetta Pilato won the women’s event in 29.87, less than six tenths off her national record of 29.30. Arianna Castiglioni edged Anita Bottazzo for second, 30.71 to 30.94. On the men’s side, there was no Nicolo Martinenghi in the field, but Simone Cerasuolo dropped a time of 26.53 to beat Ludovico Viberti (27.05) and Slovenian Peter John Stevens (27.74).

The men’s 1500 freestyle went to Luca De Tullio in 15:02.71, which was less than two seconds shy of the “A” cut (15:00.99). He was under the “B” qualification mark, but he would surely need an “A” time to join Gregorio Paltrinieri in the event in Paris. Marcello Gudi closed well to take second in 15:03.72, and Ivan Giovannoni touched third in 15:07.62.

In the men’s 400 IM, no Alberto Razzetti meant an opportunity for Pier Andrea Matteazzi to earn a 3.62-second win in 4:14.90, ahead of a fast-finishing Christian Mantegazza (4:18.52) plus Samuelle Martelli(4:18.66).

Sonia Laquintana claimed the women’s 50 butterfly win in 26.17, ahead of Viola Scotto diCarlo (26.40) and Costanza Cocconcelli (26.67).

To conclude the meet, most of Italy’s top sprint freestylers raced with their clubs’ 400 free relay teams. A star-studded GS Fiamme Oro took the win in 3:14.17, with Alessandro Miressi leading off in 48.51 before Manuel Frigo went 48.31 on the second leg and Thomas Ceccon anchored in 48.34. Giovanni Carraro provided the middle leg. For second-place Centro Sp.vo Carabinieri, Leonardo Deplano swam the second leg in 47.96.

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