He has already won everything in 1500 m freestyle, Olympics, world and European Championships titles in long and short courses, he owns the European record both long and short courses and the world record in short course. The only world record not owned by him is that of the Chinese Sun Yang in long course. This is one of the goals Gregorio Paltrinieri is aiming at achieving at the World Championships in July in Budapest. At the invitation of one of the partners of FINA (International Swimming Federation) he visited Hungary and the Danube Arena, the venue of swimming tournaments, at the end of April.
Paltrinieri is leading this year’s world ranking in 1500 m freestyle, he swam his time at the Italian Champs at the beginning of April. After his victory in Rio 2016 he said that he was about to look for new challenges: ‘In the long run of course I am looking ahead to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but I couldn’t take another 4 years in a closed pool, that would be too stressful.’ As part of the new challenges at the end of March he started at an Open Water European Cup race in Eilat, where he finished fourth in 10 km (the race was won by the Hungarian Kristóf Rasovszky). ‘Sea means freedom – said in an interview. – Although the pool is nice, it is limited, it is all about results, times, turns and details there. Sea provides much more inspiration and battle.’
This year the main competition will surely be the World Championships, however, as a matter of fact this time he will not race in the lake in Balatonfüred.
Paltrinieri turned to water at a very early age, his father was a swimmer so he spent almost all his childhood in and around the pool. Whenever asked about his plans in his childhood, he immediately resonded that he wanted to become an Olympic champion. ‘What else could be greater for an athlete than to win an Olympic gold?’
Well, the Olympic title has already been claimed, in Rio he won 1500 m freestyle confidently, where his compatriot, friend and rival, Gabriele Detti finished third.
Paltrinieri hopes to defend his world championships title in Budapest. As for preparation, he does not focus only on the work to be done in the pool. In order to reach top form by the World Championships, there is another essential factor among others: parmesan cheese!
Speaking about the Italian lifestyle, we must not forget about football. For the record, back in February, when we last wrote about him on our website we said there was a bigger chance of him becoming a world champion in Budapest than of Juve winning the UEFA Champions League. Well, he still has a good chance but in the meantime Juventus took a huge step forward by making it to the semi-final having defeated Barcelona.
Will there be double joy this year? On 3rd June in Cardiff it will turn out whether Juventus can win the Champions League and then on 26th (800 m freestyle) and 30th July (1500 m freestyle) in Budapest we will see if Gregorio Paltrinieri becomes world champion again.