Report day 1. The stars shine at the Swimming Stadium


The 59th Settecolli immediately puts on a show.. Simona Quadarella, the home champion, wins in the 1500, Marco De Tullio in the 400 freestyle, and Thomas Ceccon, who sets a new event record, in the 100 backstroke. Nicolò Martinenghi shows character and finishes second in the 100 breaststroke, while Lorenzo Zazzeri overcomes misfortune and takes third place in the 50 freestyle. Many Italian swimmers on the front pages make the first day of the 59th edition of the International Swimming - Sette Colli Trophy exhilarating. The event runs until Sunday, June 25th.

CECCON SHOW. The show begins immediately with a solo performance of excellence. Another convincing display, another victory of excellence for Thomas Ceccon, who receives the first standing ovation in the 100 backstroke with a good time, although not at the level of his world record of 51.60 set in Budapest in 2022 for the world title. The 22-year-old from Schio, reigning continental champion, representing Fiamme Oro and Leosport, coached by Alberto Burlina, and the gold medalist in Rome 2022 in the 50 butterfly, 4x100 medley relay, and 4x100 freestyle relay, swam an impressive 52.86 (25.67 at the 50-meter mark), setting a new meet record. The previous record of 53.29, set by French swimmer Mewen Tomac in 2020, was erased. Behind him, Greek swimmer and vice-continental champion Apostolos Christou finished in 52.99, and a remarkable Simone Stefani (Fiamme Oro/Time Limit) took third place with a personal best of 54.12, surpassing his previous record of 54.52 set in Caserta twenty days ago, elevating him from twelfth to ninth place among Italian performers. "The performance is good. I had said in the morning that in the afternoon I would swim a second faster," explains Ceccon, who won gold in the 4x100 medley relay and bronze in the 4x100 freestyle relay at the Budapest 2022 World Championships. "It's a somewhat peculiar phase, in terms of training load, so I'm not yet at my best. Last year was fantastic, and I aim to repeat that by giving it my all."

DE TULLIO'S STRONG PERFORMANCE. Cunning in the heats and determined in the afternoon. Marco De Tullio surprises the competition, all from within Italy, and claims the 400 freestyle title with a time that can only make him smile in anticipation of the Fukuoka World Championships, for which he is already qualified. The 22-year-old from Bari, now feeling at home in the capital, representing CC Aniene and coached by Christian Minotti, just like his brother Luca, touches the wall in 3:46.08, overtaking a courageous Matteo Ciampi (Esercito/Livorno) in the last fifty meters. Ciampi had paid the price for a strong 200-meter split (1:49.86) and finished with a time of 3:46.87. Matteo Lamberti (Carabinieri/GAM Team), the son of a former swimmer, takes third place with a time of 3:48.71. The Italian record holder (3:43.23), Gabriele Detti (Esercito/In Sport Rane Rosse), finishes just off the podium with a time of 3:48.81. Smiling, albeit tired after the race, De Tullio says, "I would say it was a pretty good performance. I'm thrilled with the result," emphasizes the Apulian swimmer, who won silver in the 4x200 freestyle relay at the European Championships in Rome, where he also finished fourth in the 200 freestyle. "Swimming here is always invigorating. In the last 50 meters, I kept pushing and managed to overtake Matteo."

SIMONA ALWAYS REIGNING. Her fans and her Rome have waited for ten months, and she has not disappointed them. Simona Quadarella emerges as the undisputed champion in the 1500 freestyle, closing out the program. The three-time European champion, representing CC Aniene and coached by Christian Minotti, wins convincingly, albeit without showboating, with the third-best time in the world this year, 15:53.24. As soon as she touches the wall, the anticipated standing ovation erupts for her. Simona, the "heart of Rome," smiles after yet another international success in her stellar and still unwritten career. "I started with very negative feelings, so coming in first was a great satisfaction. I repeated my time from the nationals, so I'm happy. Competing here is always beautiful, of course, at the European Championships, everything was more amplified and exciting, but Settecolli is always an experience that I love to do." The podium is completed by Spanish swimmer Angela Martinez Guillen (16:14.95) and Portuguese swimmer Tamila Holub (16:16.29).

DRAMA IN THE 100 BREASTSTROKE. The 100 breaststroke event captivates the audience in Rome, as two rivals destined to write swimming history battle it out. Despite Nicolo Martinenghi's heart and skill, his less than optimal physical condition, focused on the Fukuoka World Championships, is not enough to defeat Arno Kamminga this time. The 27-year-old Dutch swimmer, Olympic and reigning world silver medalist, triumphs in 59.05 seconds, while the 24-year-old from Varese, the reigning European and world champion, finishes in 59.24 seconds. In the end, a handshake between the two, smiles, and the applause of the Swimming Stadium virtually embracing them. "I don't feel at my best, nevertheless, I had a fantastic race, and I'm very happy. I was one second slower than my personal best. I'm on cloud nine, and I didn't expect to swim this time because I'm really not feeling well," says "Tete," the Italian record holder (58.26 seconds), representing CC Aniene and coached by Marco Pedoja. "After this, I have a month of high-altitude training in Livigno and then the World Championships." Kamminga also smiles. "Competing here in Rome is always very fascinating, especially against Nicolo Martinenghi. It's a pleasure to come back here a year after the European Championships. I'm very satisfied with my time."
The 100 breaststroke event also sees an Orange victory with the success of the vice short-course world champion Tes Schouten in 1:06.06. The 22-year-old from Bodegraven defeats Japan's Reona Aoki, who finishes second in 1:06.09, and Ireland's Mona McSharry in 1:06.56. Fourth place goes to the Italian record holder (1:05.67) Arianna Castiglioni (Fiamme Gialle/Team Insubrika) with a time of 1:06.77, which doesn't fully satisfy her.

SWISS DOMINANCE IN THE 100 BUTTERFLY. Fast in the morning, lightning-fast in the evening. Noé Ponti confirms his strength in the 100 butterfly. The 21-year-old Swiss swimmer from Locarno, European silver medalist in Rome 2022 and Olympic bronze medalist in Tokyo 2020, clocks an excellent 51.28 seconds for the seventh best European performance of the year. Behind him are the Dutch swimmer Nyls Korstanje in 51.82 seconds and the evergreen Piero Codia. The 34-year-old swimmer from Giulianova, the Italian record holder representing Esercito and CC Aniene and coached by Alessandro D'Alessandro, touches the wall in 51.94 seconds, just one hundredth of a second faster than Federico Burdisso (Esercito/Aurelia Nuoto), who finishes off the podium. "I did well in the heats, but this afternoon I made some mistakes," emphasizes Codia, coached by Alessandro D'Alessandro and the European champion in Glasgow 2018. "I'm in a good period, but now it's time to step up my game."

ZAZZART'S COMEBACK. An anaphylactic shock took him out of swimming for two months in the autumn. Then a recovery, faced with courage and maximum motivation. Settecolli brings back a superb Lorenzo Zazzeri to Italnuoto, placing third in the 50 freestyle, won by the British world and European champion Benjamin Proud in 21.68 seconds. The 27-year-old Tuscan swimmer, representing Esercito and RN Florentia, coached by Paolo Palchetti, with the 4x100m freestyle as Olympic silver medalist in Tokyo 2020 and bronze medalist in Budapest 2022, clocks in at 22.07 seconds. Between the British and the Italian, there's the Hungarian Szesbasztian Szabo in 22.01 seconds. "Standing on an international podium after everything I've been through physically in the past months makes me happy and relive the emotions of past years," says Zazzart, who finished sixth at the European Championships in Rome. "Honestly, I hoped to go a bit faster, but I only started swimming again at the end of January, and that's fine."

SARAH CONTINUES TO AMAZE. Ninety medals from Olympics, World Championships, and European Championships, and still the desire to fight, win, and amaze. Sarah Sjostrom is one of the stars of the 59th Settecolli, and the spotlight can only see her as the protagonist. The 29-year-old Swedish swimmer from Ronninge dominates the 50 butterfly with the third best performance in the world this year, clocking in at 25.25 seconds. The highly competitive field is overshadowed as the talented German swimmer, Angelina Köhler, takes second place in 26.04 seconds, and the other Swedish swimmer, Louise Hansson, finishes third in 26.05 seconds. The Italian record holder (25.84 seconds), Silvia Di Pietro (Carabinieri/CC Aniene), falls short with a time of 26.40 seconds, placing her in eighth position.

50 BACKSTROKE AND 200 FREESTYLE WITH UNPREDICTABLE OUTCOME. Canadian Kylie Masse dominates the competition in the 50 butterfly. The 26-year-old from Salle, a world champion and Olympic silver medalist in the double distance, finishes in 27.76 seconds, the only finalist to go under 28 seconds. The podium is completed by British swimmer Laure Cox in 28.01 seconds and Dutch swimmer Maaike De Waard in 28.07 seconds, one hundredth of a second ahead of Costanza Cocconcelli (Fiamme Gialle and NC Azzurra) who finishes fourth with her second personal best performance ever (27.92 seconds).
The final of the 200 freestyle is a one-sided affair, dominated by the Olympic vice champion and short course world champion Siobahn Haughey. The 24-year-old swimmer from Hong Kong flies in 1:54.77, achieving the fourth best performance of the year and coming just 0.22 seconds shy of the event record (1:54.55) set by Federica Pellegrini, the overall winner, in 2016. Behind the Asian champion, there is British swimmer Freya Colbert in 1:56.59 and Dutch swimmer Marrit Steenbergen in 1:56.68.

First day results. 

100 backstroke men
1. Thomas Ceccon 52''86 RC (precedente 53''29 di Mewen Tomac del 2020)
2. Apostolos Christou (Gre) 52''99
3. Simone Stefan' (Fiamme Oro/Time Limit) 54''12 pp (precedente 54''52 del 23/05/2023 a Caserta) 

50 backstroke women
1. Kylie Masse (Can) 27''76
2. Laure Cox (Gbr) 28''01
3. Maaike De Waard (Ned) 28''07

400 stile libero mas
1. Marco De Tullio 3'46''08
2. Matteo Ciampi 3'46''87
3. Matteo Lamberti (Carabinieri/GAM Team) 3'48''71

200 freestyle women
1. Siobhan Haugey (Hkg) 1'54''77
2. Freya Colbert (Gbr) 1'56''59
3. Marrit Steenbergen (Ned) 1'56''68

100 breaststroke men
1. Arno Kamminga (Ned) 59''05
2. Nicolo Martinenghi 59''24
3. Lucas Matzerath (Ger) 1'00''22

100 breaststroke women
1. Tes Schouten (Ned) 1'06''06
2. Reona Aoki (Jpn) 1'06''09
3. Mona Mc Sharry (Irl) 1'06''56

100 butterfly men
1. Noé Ponti (Sui) 51''28
2. Nyls Korstanje (Ned) 51''82
3. Piero Codia (Esercito/CC Aniene) 51''94

50 butterfly women
1. Sarah Sjostrom (Swe) 25''25
2. Angelina Köhler (Ger) 26''04
3. Louise Hansson (Swe) 26''05

50 freestyle men
1. Benjamin Proud (Gbr) 21''68
2. Szesbasztian Szabo (Hun) 22''01
3. Lorenzo Zazzeri 22''07

1500 freestyle women
1. Simona Quadarella 15'53''24
2. Angela Martinez Guillen (Esp) 16'14''95
3. Tamila Holub (Por) 16'16''29

Photos by Giorgio Scala and Andrea Staccioli / DBM The use of the photographs is permitted solely and exclusively for registered editorial publications. It is mandatory to credit the photographers.