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World Water Day. Athletes and water

Elena Bertocchi, European springboard champion, and Oscar Bertone, technical director of the national diving team, spoke at the "AQUAE! WORLD WATER DAY 2022" event, organised for World Water Day by the University of Rome "Foro Italico", under the patronage of the Italian Swimming Federation, to build a more sustainable future. A delegation of SIS Roma, winner of the UnipolSai Italian Cup, was also present, with Domitilla Picozzi, Chiara Tabani and Giuditta Galardi accompanied by coach Marco Capanna. The representatives of the Water Polo Federation offered central testimonials.

ELENA BERTOCCHI. "I was very pleased to hear that the mascot of Rome 2022 will be a rescue dog. I adore them. If I had known earlier I would have proposed my Chloé! This is a period of preparation for the Europeans in Rome. Last weekend we competed in Trieste and I won the gold medal in both the 1m and 3m springboard. In a few days we will go to Turin for the Absolute Winter Championships and then the technical director Oscar Bertone will select the athletes who will form the national team for the continental competition. My relationship with water began when I was three years old, when my parents signed me up for swimming lessons. I didn't like swimming, for me the most fun was diving. So one day the coach told my father that I would become a diving champion. From that moment on, I started diving and never stopped. When you begin there are various obstacles: the jump and everything connected with vacuum. After a lot of training everything goes away. In a competition all the emotions are there before the race; there is a lot of tension, but when I dive everything disappears".

OSCAR BERTONE. "A young athlete can be recognised by the desire and the life he or she shows from the very first dives into the water. A child can understand if he or she would rather dive than swim. Diving is a special sport, we dive into the water but the evolution is all outside the water, linked to gymnastics. When a child is signed up for a diving course, he or she comes into contact with the water two or three times during the last 20 to 30 minutes of training, the rest is athletic preparation and preparatory exercises. A characteristic of Elena? It's tignaotherwise, you cannot achieve such results. She was able to finish third at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. The preparation for the European Championships in Rome 2022 is going through ups and downs; between the pandemic and the war, unfortunately the athletes are not very concentrated. They are training a lot, but it is a period in which we do not compete much, especially there aren't international competitions. Rome will be a very important occasion since we will perform at home and I hope that the team will be ready, above all emotionally, to face a very warm public. In the world there is a lot of expectation for high diving, we are preparing with Alessandro De Rose and Elisa Cosetti, we are working to try to have another boy and another athlete in the competition".

THE WORDS OF THE SIS ROMA PLAYERS. "It was a great emotion to win the Italian Cup," said Domitilla Picozzi, "we are a very cohesive group and this victory has given us confidence and awareness for the rest of the championship, also in the fight for the title. I started playing water polo when I was 12 years old, I was bored of swimming and my father encouraged me to play with a men's team that trained near my home; a great passion was born. As good athletes we complain, for example, about the water too cold, but when there is no sensation of feeling the water, I miss it. I think of the lockdown period, away from the pool, getting back into the water was like reliving a primordial emotion: incredible! It was unexpected to share this moment of joy with the Ukrainian girls," added Chiara Tabani, "they are going through a difficult period, giving us high-fives and seeing them at the poolside supporting the athletes of both teams created an atmosphere of union. It is difficult to describe the emotions when you wear the Italian cap, only those who are lucky enough to wear it can understand. Best wishes to all the athletes who have started this sport. Today is a very important day," underlines Giuditta Galardi, "I am very careful about the environment. In my opinion, it is important for each of us to make a concrete action, in small everyday actions: pay attention not to waste water when brushing your teeth, cleaning the dishes. Water is our element, during the lockdown period," concludes Galardi, "away from the water we continued with dry training. We sent each other challenges to keep fit and keep our spirits up, even though we were missing our most important element: water".

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