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Rachele Bruni: the only thing missing is the World Champs medal

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Rachele Bruni is an 8-time European champion, Olympic silver medallist, double defending champion at the FINA/HOSA 10 km Marathon Swimming World Cup, and beyond doubt one of the best open water swimmers in the world. However, she has not managed to win a single medal at the FINA World Championships so far, so she is hoping to break the curse in Balatonfüred.

Rachele Bruni must have really good memories of Hungary, since her first major international competition (at age 15!) was the 2006 European Championships in Budapest, and she won the Hungarian race of the 2016 FINA/HOSA 10 km Marathon Swimming World Cup in Balatonfüred, followed by the gold medal in the overall competition, too, in the same season. Plenty of things have happened between the two events...

Although Bruni has won a couple of gold medals at the Italian Championships in the pool it became clear at the beginning of her career that she would be highly successful in open water events.

She won the bronze medal in 5 km at the 2007 European Junior Championships in Milan, and a year later she made her excellent debut among seniors at the European Championships in Dubrovnik, where she finished first in the 5 km and the team event as well.

The EC has been her favourite major event so far, as she has won at least one medal in almost every contest since 2008. At the 2010 EC in Budapest she won silver in the team event, in 2011 in Eilat she won two gold medals again (5 km and team event), adding a silver medal in 10 km.

Bruni had the opportunity to compete in front of home crowd at the 2012 European Championships in Piombino, and she took her chances again by winning gold both in the 5 km and the team event.

The 2014 EC in Berlin was the only exception, since she did not win any medals in the German capital. However, she improved a lot and last year in Hoorn she clinched gold in the 10 km and the team event as well.

Regarding Olympics, Bruni was far from qualification in 2008, when open water swimming debuted at the Games. She failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, too, but she took part in the 2016 Games in Rio, where her second place ranking was quite an interesting happening. Originally she finished third, behind world champion Aurélie Muller and Sharon van Rouwendaal, but the French swimmer was disqualified for obstructing Bruni at the finish line. She dedicated her medal to her girlfriend Diletta.

Bruni has been very successful at the FINA/HOSA 10 km Marathon Swimming World Cup. In 2015 she became the first Italian female swimmer to win the overall competition of this event.

"It makes me proud to be the first to win this trophy. This success was built throughout the season and it gives me a boost." (tuttosport.it)

"Different races, different places and a lot of nice people met on the way. I think this is the best part of my sport. It is so interesting! " – she said to fina.org about the World Cup.

In 2016 she defended her title, so she is a two-time gold medallist in the series.

There is a sore point in her career, that is the FINA World Championships. Her first World Champs was the 2008 event is Seville, and she participated in all World Championships since then without winning a single medal. She has been rather unlucky, as she had two 4th place finishes at the 2011 and the 2015 World Championships alike.

"Smile to fatigue." That is Bruni’s motto, the question is what reasons she will have for smiling at the 17th FINA World Championships, the open water competitions of the tournament will be held from 15 to 21 July in Balatonfüred.

RACHELE BRUNI

Born: Florence (Italy), 4 November, 1990

Medal record:

Olympic silver medallist (2016 Rio, 10km)

8-time European champion (2008 Dubrovnik, 5 km and team event; 2011 Eilat, 5 km and team event; 2012 Piombino, 5 km and team event; 2016 Hoorn, 10 km and team event

European silver medallist (2010 Budapest, team event; 2011 Eilat, 10 km)

Universiade: gold medallist (2011 Shenzhen, 10 km)

World Cup winner (2015 and 2016)