Marco De Tullio Impresses in 400 Freestyle at Italian Champs; Benedetta Pilato Quick in 100 Breaststroke

Benedetta Pilato 2021 European Junior championships

Marco De Tullio Impresses in 400 Freestyle at Italian Champs; Benedetta Pilato Quick in 100 Breaststroke

There was plenty of speed on display on the opening night of the Italian Championships, headlined by a tight battle in the men’s 400-meter freestyle. Delivering a swim of 3:44.47, Marco De Tullio generated momentum on the road to the World Championships in Budapest by dispatching countrymen Lorenzo Galossi (3:45.93) and Gabriele Detti (3:46.12).

De Tullio enjoyed a wire-to-wire victory, but he made his biggest mark of the race on the closing 100 meters, where he easily outsplit his rivals. De Tullio split 55.35 for the final two laps, compared to the 55.89 of Galossi and the 56.09 of Detti. De Tullio’s time was within a half-second of what was required to make the podium at last summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. There, De Tullio missed out on the final with a 10th-place finish in 3:45.85.

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In the women’s 100 breaststroke, 17-year-old Benedetta Pilato was the sole athlete to go under 1:06 as she won the event in 1:05.70. The effort is a positive sign for Pilato, who was a contender for an Olympic medal in Tokyo before a disqualification in the prelims ended those hopes. She was followed to the wall by Arianna Castiglioni, who touched in 1:06.17, ahead of the 1:06.82 of Lisa Angiolini.

There was an upset in the men’s 200 butterfly, where Giacomo Carini was the victory in 1:55.33, faster than the 1:55.79 of Alberto Razzetti. The surprise was the third-place finisher, Federico Burdisso (1:56.16), who was the bronze medalist at the Olympics. Burdisso had the lead at all three turns, but he was caught down the stretch as Carini (30.50) and Razzetti (30.81) were considerably faster over the last 50 meters. Burdisso closed in 31.33.

The bronze medalist in the event at the Olympic Games, Simona Quadarella produced a strong showing in the 800 freestyle. The veteran distance standout covered her 16 laps in 8:24.23, good for a six-plus-second win over Martina Caramignoli (8:31.03). Caramignoli was with Quadarella through the opening 200 meters, but the Olympian started to pull away and had a lead of almost two seconds by the midway point.

In sprint action, Luca Dotto edged Leonardo De Plano by the slimmest of margins as his 21.86 was a hundredth quicker than what De Plano managed. Michele Lamberti and Thomas Ceccon were the only athletes to crack the 25-second barrier in the 50 backstroke, with Lamberti claiming a tight victory in 24.95. Ceccon touched second in 24.99. Sara Franceschi prevailed in the women’s 400 individual medley in 4:40.13.