The curtain falls on 59th Settecolli


The fabulous Italian record by Sara Franceschi, the triplets by Thomas Ceccon and Simona Quadarella, the double by Luca De Tullio, the surprise from lane zero by Alberto Razzetti, and David Popovici's solo act make the final day of the 59th edition of the Sette Colli International Swimming Trophy fabulous.

FRANCESCHI CLOSES WITH A RECORD. The big bang comes as the curtain falls. The signature belongs to a Tuscan girl who has entered a new dimension for about a year now. Sara Franceschi wins the 200m individual medley with a fantastic Italian record. The 23-year-old from Livorno, representing Fiamme Gialle and Livorno Acquatics and bronze medalist in Rome 2022, swims in 2'09''30 (splits: 28''80, 33''30, 36''80, 30''40), erasing the 2'10''05 she set last April 15th in Riccione when she not only secured her spot for the Fukuoka World Championships but also lowered Ilaria Cusinato's 2018 record of 2'10''25. An sensational time that ranks ninth in the world this season and third in Europe. Alongside the Italian on the podium are the Dutch Marrit Steenbergen (2'09''51) and the English Katie Shanahan (2'10''93). "I got in the water with the intention of winning, and I did it. I had a very good feeling, and I managed to stay ahead of the Dutch swimmer despite her very good freestyle. I believe that the training and physical condition have always been there; what was missing was that extra mental step that I have been able to take in recent years," concludes Franceschi, who has always been coached by her father Stefano, unable to contain his emotions at the finish. "I want to finish the year according to my good intentions and then start the next one thinking about the third Olympics."

CECCON THE SUPERSTAR. He goes beyond physical conditions that cannot be optimal because he has already earned the champion's status and always behaves as such. Thomas Ceccon delivers a monstrous performance in the 50m butterfly and completes the Roman triple after his victories in the 50m and 100m backstroke. The European champion, representing Fiamme Oro and Leosport and coached by Alberto Burlina, flies in 22''84, which is his second best personal performance of the year, the seventh best in Europe ever, just five hundredths away from his Italian record of 22''79. He outclasses the competition that all swims above 22 seconds: second is the Hungarian Szebasztian Szabo in 23''13, and third is the Swiss Noè Ponti in 23''27. "I'm satisfied with the time, although I was hoping for something faster. It's a shame about the Italian record that I wanted to achieve. I'm learning to hang tough and deliver good races even when I'm not at my best. Now I have the last two weeks of intense training before the World Championships," says the phenomenon from Schio. "We're going to the World Championships with a great national team, and there are promising new talents behind us."

QUADARELLA WITH HEART. Simona Quadarella puts her heart beyond the obstacle as she gifts the home crowd with the awaited triplet. The queen of European middle-distance swimming once again outperforms the competition and, after claiming victory in the 800m and 1500m freestyle, she also triumphs in the 400m freestyle. The 24-year-old Roman, representing CC Aniene and coached by Christian Minotti, swims, without pushing too hard, in 4'05''85, overtaking Belgian Valentine Dumont in the last fifty meters, who finishes second in 4'06''27. Hungarian Ajna Kesely takes the third step of the podium in 4'06''41. Tired but smiling, SuperSimona at the finish says, "I had a lot of fun in this race. Considering that I came in very tired, it's a good time. I have a positive assessment of this Sette Colli meet; we needed to perform well to have good motivation for the World Championships. I try not to have negative thoughts about Fukuoka; I see that we are all very fit, but I will strive to confirm myself."

DE TULLIO'S DOUBLE. A superb double in the middle distance for Luca De Tullio. The 20-year-old from Puglia and brother of Marco, representing Fiamme Oro and CC Aniene, is the fastest in the 1500m, after also winning the 800m, with a personal best of 14'59''68 (previously 15'00''36). "I think I still have something to give in this distance in the future because I enjoy swimming it and, above all, progressing in the last 100 meters," says De Tullio, also coached by Minotti. "Going under 15 minutes was my main goal, and achieving it now and after yesterday's race makes me realize that I can still improve in this event. I couldn't be happier." Behind the young Puglian are two big names in European distance swimming: Irishman Daniel Wiffen in 15'02''51 and Frenchman Damien Joly in 15'03''61.

SURPRISE FROM LANE ZERO. He stayed hidden until the final day, then made a big splash just before sunset. Alberto Razzetti surprises the competition from lane zero, wins the 200m individual medley, and thrills the audience at the Stadio Del Nuoto, bringing back memories of last August when he won silver at the European Championships after triumphing in the double distance. The 24-year-old from Lavagna but based in Livorno, representing Fiamme Gialle and Genova Nuoto My Sport, finishes in 1'58''74. Behind the swimmer from Liguria are British swimmer Duncan Scott in 1'58''83 and Israeli swimmer Ron Polonsky in 2'00''04. "I'm extremely happy with the race, and I had a lot of fun. It's a bit strange to compete in lane zero, but I still had good sensations," says Razzetti. "I see an improvement in my transitions, and we'll try to continue on this path."

DAVID WINS AGAIN. Another solo act, another show in the pool that introduced him to the world when he won three golds and one silver at the European Juniors in 2021. King David Popovici claims the scalp in the 200m freestyle after his victory in the 100m. The Romanian, world champion and continental champion, sets a new meet record of 1'45''49 (previous record 1'46''39 by Kristof Milak in 2021) and achieves the sixth-best performance in the world this year. "Both my coach and I are satisfied. I think it was a well-structured race, but now I will try to aim for even more improvement," says Popovici. "I really enjoy swimming in this pool, and I wish similar facilities would be built in Romania. For now, I can only carry these great sensations with me. I have wonderful memories of last year's European Championships, but I don't want to stop at that; time passes, and we must always seek the best results." On the podium with the phenomenon from Bucharest are British swimmer Thomas Dean in 1'46''86 and Stefano Di Cola, performing well, representing Marina Militare and CC Aniene, followed by Claudio Rossetto, in 1'46''90, not far from his personal best (1'46''46). There are signs of a comeback from Italian record holder Filippo Megli (Carabinieri/RN Florentia) with a time of 1'47''47.

BACKSTROKE FROM SWITZERLAND AND CANADA. The 200m backstroke reflects what was seen in the morning session. Among the men, Swiss swimmer Roman Mityukov, bronze medalist at the 2021 Budapest European Championships, wins in 1'56''56, ahead of Japanese swimmer Hidekazu Takehara in 1'57''57 and Englishman Brodie Williams in 1'59''67. Kylie Masse is unstoppable and completes the backstroke triple, winning among the women after her victories in the 100m and 50m backstroke. The 26-year-old from Salle, an Olympic silver medalist, touches the wall in 2'08''91, followed by British swimmer Katie Shanahan in 2'09''69 and Japanese swimmer Rio Shirai in 2'10''23.

HUNGARIAN BUTTERFLY. A splendid performance in the 200m butterfly by Hungarian swimmer Boglarka Kapas, the reigning world champion at Gwangju 2019 and European champion at Glasgow 2018 and Budapest 2020, wins in 2'08''52. On the podium alongside the 30-year-old from Debrecen are British swimmer Laura Stephens in 2'09''32 and fellow Hungarian Dalma Sebestyen in 2'09''42. Ilaria Cusinato (Fiamme Oro/Team Veneto) finishes sixth in 2'09''82, paying the price, like many Italians, for a poor athletic condition.

TOP PERFORMANCE. The best performance of the 59th edition of the Settecolli Trophy belongs to Sarah Sjostrom with her time of 23''93 in the 50m freestyle. In second place is Siobhan Haughey's 1'54''77 in the 200m freestyle.

SETTECOLLI TROPHY. Italy claims the title with 76 points, followed by the Netherlands (58) and Great Britain (52). Twenty-one nations earn points.

Third day results

50 freestyle men
1. Sarah Sjostrom (Swe) 23''93
2. Michelle Coleman (Swe) 24''43
3. Anna Hopkin (Gbr) 24''62

200 backstroke men
1. Roman Mityukov (Sui) 1'56''56
2. Hidekazu Takehara (Jpn) 1'57''57
3. Brodie Williams (Gbr) 1'59''67

200 backstroke women
1. Kylie Masse (Can) 2'08''91
2. Katie Shanahan (Gbr) 2'09''69
3. Rio Shirai (Jpn) 2'10''23

50 butterfly men
1. Thomas Ceccon 22''84
2. Szebasztian Szabo (Hun) 23''13
3. Noé Ponti (Sui) 23''27

200 butterfly women
1. Boglarka Kapas (Hun) 2'08''52
2. Laura Stephens (Gbr) 2'09''32
3. Dalma Sebestyen (Hun) 2'09''42

200 breaststroke men
1. Arno Kamminga (Ned) 2'10''57
2. Erik Persson (Swe) 2'11''27
3. Luca Pizzini (Carabinieri/Fondazione Bentegodi) 2'11''42

200 breaststroke women
1. Tes Schouten (Ned) 2'21''84
2. Reona Aoki (Jpn) 2'23''84
3. Francesca Fangio (Esercito/In Sport Rane Rosse) 2'25''34

200 freestyle men
1. David Popovici (Rou) 1'45''49 rec. man. (precedente 1'46''39 di Kristof Milak del 2021)
2. Thomas Dean (Gbr) 1'46''86
3. Stefano Di Cola 1'46''90

400 freestyle women
1. Simona Quadarella 4'05''85
2. Valentine Dumont (Bel) 4'06''27
3. Ajna Kesely (Hun) 4'06''41

200 individual medley men
1. Alberto Razzetti 1'58''74
2. Duncan Scott (Gbr) 1'58''83
3. Ron Polonsky (Isr) 2'00''04

200 individual medley women
1. Sara Franceschi 2'09''30 RI (precedente 2'10''05 di Sara Franceschi del 15/04/2023 a Riccione)
2. Marrit Steenbergen (Ned) 2'09''51
3. Katie Shanahan (Gbr) 2'10''93

1500 freestyle men
1. Luca de Tullio (Ita) 14'59"68
2. Daniel Wiffen (Irl) 15'02"51
3. Damien Joly (Fra) 15'03"61

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.