Report day 2. A thrilling show


Packed stands and high enthusiasm marked the second day of the 59th edition of the Sette Colli International Swimming Trophy, taking place in Rome until Sunday, June 25th.

UNSTOPPABLE THOMAS. A born sprinter, a confirmed superstar with no limits. Thomas Ceccon, despite not being in top form, repeats his success and adds another title to his name after winning the 100m backstroke on the opening day. As he exits the water, he greets the audience like a gladiator, being their undisputed idol. The vice-European champion, Italian record holder (24.40), member of Fiamme Oro and Leosport, reigning world and continental champion in both backstroke distances, swims smoothly in 24.69, securing the sixth best European performance of the year. The towering Venetian athlete finishes ahead of Apostolos Christou from Greece, who won gold in Rome 2022, with a time of 24.92, and Andrei Anghel from Romania in 24.98. "I'm happy with my time. I didn't expect to swim this fast, but I felt good and followed my usual progression in the race," says Alberto Burlina's protégé. "I'm satisfied with these two races. The 50m backstroke remains the most challenging, but we're working on it."

THE "CONTE" CARINI STRIKES. Nicknamed "Il Conte" (The Count) for his mannerisms and old-fashioned look, he once again displayed his class in the pool. The 59th Sette Colli Trophy saw Giacomo Carini deliver an outstanding performance, finishing second in the 200m butterfly. The 25-year-old athlete from Piacenza, representing Fiamme Gialle and Can. Vittorino da Feltre, touched the wall in 1:55.72 (with a superb split time of 54.35 at the 100m mark), not far from his personal best of 1:55.17. The only one ahead of him was Noé Ponti from Switzerland, who won the 100m butterfly the previous day. The 21-year-old Swiss athlete from Locarno, silver medalist in the 100m butterfly at Rome 2022 and bronze medalist at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, finished in 1:55.39. Richard Marton from Hungary claimed the third spot on the podium with a time of 1:57.10. "I felt better this afternoon compared to the morning. I tried to manage the race well," highlights Carini, a Law graduate and future lawyer. "The sensations were great, and I believe I had a good race."

QUADARELLA UNMATCHED. Another final, another victory in front of her home crowd for Simona Quadarella. The queen of European middle-distance swimming, after dominating the 1500m on Friday, repeats her success in the 800m freestyle. The reigning continental champion, Olympic bronze medalist, and current world champion - representing CC Aniene and coached by Christian Minotti - leaves no room for competition and finishes in 8'22''04, ahead of Hungarian Ajna Kesely (8'26''04) and a highly skilled Noemi Cesarano (Time Limit) in 8'33''19. "At Settecolli, I always give my all in the 1500m, and then in the 800m the following day, I always feel tired," explains SuperSimona. "However, I feel that I have more experience, which helps me manage the more intense periods. Tomorrow I will swim the 400m, and then I will start focusing only on the World Championships."

SARA AND RAZZO'S MEDLEY. Growing more confident in their abilities and aware of stepping into a new dimension, both Sara Franceschi and Alberto Razzetti showcased their talent. Sara, calm and composed in the heats, finished second in the 400m individual medley with an excellent time, only surpassed by the newly turned 18-year-old British swimmer Katie Shanahan in 4:36.92. The 23-year-old Livorno native, representing Fiamme Gialle and Livorno Acquatics, accompanied by her father Stefano and fourth-place finisher at the 2022 European Championships in Rome, achieved a personal best time of 4:37.37, the third best performance of her career. Her personal best stands at 4:35.98, set on April 13th at the Italian Absolute Championships in Riccione, which earned her a ticket to the Fukuoka World Championships. With a smile on her face, the Tuscan medley specialist, who won bronze in the 200m individual medley at Rome 2022, says after the race, "I'm happy to have swum below the qualifying time once again. Coming from three weeks of high-altitude training, I felt quite calm and wanted to perform well. After the positive confirmations in recent years, I can say I feel more secure and aware."

Alberto Razzetti, always performing well, also finished second in the 400m individual medley. Training alongside Franceschi and recently joined by Welsh swimmer Max Litchfield, Razzetti completed the race in 4:13.58. The 23-year-old athlete from Genoa, defending continental champion, representing Fiamme Gialle and Genova Nuoto My Sport, states, "I'm extremely happy that Max Litchfield came to train with me this year. Racing with him is always fun and a great challenge. I'm not at 100% yet, but achieving this time at this point is already a positive sign that gives me confidence for the World Championships."

MIRESSI CLOSE BEHIND KING DAVID. In this pool, Alessandro Miressi excels and always manages to give his best. The world record holder in the 100m freestyle (46.86), David Popovici, undisputed king of the event, triumphs with a new meet record of 48.10. The reigning world and European champion shaves off Thomas Ceccon's 2021 record of 48.14. Alessandro Miressi, the 24-year-old athlete from Piedmont, Italian record holder (47.45), representing Fiamme Oro and CN Torino, coached by Antonio Satta, and bronze medalist in Rome 2022, touches the wall in 48.27, just one hundredth of a second ahead of third-place finisher Matthew Richards from England. "I'm satisfied with my performance, although I'm not in top shape," explains the Sabaudian sprinter. "The real competition will be in a month, and I'll continue working to return to my best form."

IN THE TRADITIONAL PATH. Italian breaststroke continues to produce exceptional talents, and the youngest one to shine is Anita Bottazzo. She surprises everyone, including her coach Cesare Casella, as she finishes second in the 50m breaststroke, only behind Lithuanian superstar Ruta Meilutyte, who touched the wall in 29.79. The 19-year-old swimmer from Treviso, representing Fiamme Gialle and Imolanuoto, sets a new personal best time of 30.23, improving upon her morning heat time of 30.33, which had already surpassed her previous best of 30.69 set last March in Florence. "I tried to improve from the heats, and I'm happy with what I achieved," says Bottazzo. "Just like this morning, I tried to keep up with Ruta, but then I couldn't see her anymore." Mona McSharry from Ireland completes the podium with a time of 30.59.

SWEDISH BUTTERFLY. The women's 100m butterfly final, which opens the evening session in Rome, features top-level competition, won by Louise Hansson from Sweden. The reigning European champion finishes in 57.25, securing the third best European performance of the year. Joining her on the podium are Angelina Koehler from Germany in 57.65 and Anna Ntountounaki from Greece in 57.75. Giulia D'Innocenzo from Rome (Carabinieri/CC Aniene) performs excellently, setting a personal best time of 58.61 to finish fourth. The 20-year-old athlete, trained by Sandro Signori, improves upon her time of 58.84 set twenty days ago, and now ranks fourth among Italian performers—a remarkable achievement for Italy's undisputed swimming talent, although she generally feels more comfortable in the backstroke.

HAUGHEY SETS A RECORD. The women's 100m freestyle provides intense excitement, excellent times, and a luxurious podium. The runner-up of the Olympic Games, Siobhan Haughey, claims victory in the marquee event. The 24-year-old swimmer from Hong Kong, who won gold in short course swimming, flies to a meet record time of 52.64, erasing Pernille Blume's 2018 record of 52.72. Sarah Sjostrom from Sweden, who has accumulated ninety medals in the Olympics, World Championships, and European Championships, finishes second with a time of 53.05, followed by Marrit Steenbergen from the Netherlands in 53.49.

CANADIAN BACKSTROKE ONCE AGAIN. The Stadio del Nuoto also showcases the talent of Canadian Kylie Masse, who secures a double victory by winning the 100m backstroke after her success in the 50m backstroke on Friday. The 26-year-old athlete from Salle, an Olympic silver medalist, touches the wall in 59.73, a mere three hundredths of a second ahead of British swimmer Lauren Cox, who finishes second in 59.79. Kira Toussaint from the Netherlands claims third place with a time of 1:00.33.

QUADARELLA UNMATCHED. Simona Quadarella continues her dominance with yet another victory in front of her home crowd. The undisputed queen of European middle-distance swimming, following her impressive performance in the 1500m on Friday, once again emerges triumphant in the 800m freestyle event. As the reigning continental champion, Olympic bronze medalist, and current world champion, representing CC Aniene and guided by coach Christian Minotti, Quadarella leaves her competitors no chance as she finishes with a time of 8'22''04. She secures first place, surpassing Hungarian swimmer Ajna Kesely (8'26''04) and the highly talented Noemi Cesarano (Time Limit) who finishes with a time of 8'33''19. Reflecting on her performance, SuperSimona explains, "During Settecolli, I always give my all in the 1500m, and subsequently, in the 800m the following day, I often feel fatigued. Nevertheless, my increased experience allows me to manage these intense periods better. Tomorrow, I will compete in the 400m, and from there, my focus will shift solely to the World Championships."

Second day results

100 butterfly women
1. Louisse Hansson (Swe) 57''25
2. Angelina Koehler (Ger) 57''65
3. Anna Ntountounaki (Ger) 57''75

200 butterfly men
1. Noè Ponti (Sui) 1'55''39
2. Giacomo Carini 1'55''72
3. Richard Marton (Hun) 1'57''10

100 backstroke women
1. Kylie Masse (Can) 59''73
2. Lauren Cox (Gbr) 59''79
3. Kira Toussaint (Ned) 1'00''33

50 backstroke men
1. Thomas Ceccon 24''69
2. Apostolos Christou (Gre) 24''92
3. Andrei Anghel (Rou) 24''98

400 individual medley women
1. Katie Shanahan (Gbr) 4'36''92
2. Sara Franceschi  (Ita) 4'37''37
3. Freya Colbert (Gbr) 4'38''56

400individual medley men
1. Max Litchfield (Gbr) 4'11''36
2. Alberto Razzetti 4'13''58
3. Gabor Zombori (Hun) 4'15''73

100 freestyle women
1. Haughey Shioban (Hkg) 52''64 rec. competition (previous 52''72 - Pernille Blume 2018)
2. Sarah Sjostrom (Swe) 53''05
3. Marrit Steenbergen (Ned) 53''49

100 freestyle men
1. David Popovici (Rou) 48''10 rec. competition (previous 48''14 - Thomas Ceccon 2021)
2. Alessandro Miressi 48''27
3. Matthesw Richards (Gbr) 48''28

50 breaststroke women
1. Ruta Meilutyte (Ltu) 29''79
2. Anita Bottazzo (Fiamme Gialle/Imolanuoto) 30''23 
3. Mona McSharry (Irl) 30''59

50 breaststroke men
1. Simone Cerasuolo (Ita) 26''76 
2. Nicolò Martinenghi (Ita) 26''90
3. Ludovico Viberti (Ita) 27''31

800 freestyle women
1. Simona Quadarella (Ita) 8'22"04
2. Ajna Kesely (Hun) 8'26"04
3. Noemi Cesarano (Ita) 8'33"19

800 freestyle men
1. Luca de Tullia (Ita) 7'47"63
2. Daniel Wiffen (Irl) 7'50"64
3. Carlos Garach Benito (Esp) 7'53"88

Photos by Giorgio Scala and Andrea Staccioli / DBM The use of photographs is allowed solely for registered publications for editorial purposes. It is mandatory to mention the credits.