Dingli Caruana: “At Rome 2009 I swam national record times celebrating Pellegrini, now I promote masters in Malta”
Edward Dingli Caruana has a special bond with Italy. He participated in the 2009 world championships in Rome and in 2015 he spent three months of his life in Verona for the Erasmus project. "The 2009 world championships were a very emotional experience for me. I was 17 years old and it was my first time representing Malta at an elite international level. Being there amongst the best in the world was a highlight of my swimming career. There are two memories I will never forget: breaking three relay national records (4x100m, 4x200m freestyle and 4x100m medley) in the most beautiful pool in the world and being in the crowd when Italian Federica Pellegrini broke her women’s 200m and 400m world records. It gives me goosebumps till today. The atmosphere made me fall in love with swimming even more,” he said.
In 2015, he retired from competitive swimming to focus on his studies, he graduated from the University of Malta with a law degree and continued swimming, occasionally participating in a few races just for fun. This was until 2018 when, seeing compatriot John Tabone (also competing in these championships) taking part in the masters in Kranj, he decided to approach the masters world. "As soon as I heard that in 2022 the masters Europeans championships would be at the Foro Italico, in the same place as my 2009 world championships, I wanted to be there. In Malta, masters swimming has only existed for a few years, the competitions only started in 2021, so it’s very new. I hope that my presence here will get more adult swimmers interested in masters competitions."
Edward Dingli Caruana si occupa di diritto societario e tributario a Malta ed è anche allenatore di nuoto del club Exiles SC e allenatore responsabile per il nuoto paralimpico del Malta Paraswimming. A distanza di 20 anni dalla sua prima competizione, ?nel 2002 ho iniziato a gareggiare?, le emozioni sono sempre intense. ?Il nuoto è diventato la mia vita. È l?ambiente in cui mi sento al meglio, mi permette di rilassare la mente e il corpo che in acqua si sentono a casa. Quando svolgo un duro allenamento o una gara mi sento realizzato e soddisfatto. È una delle mie sensazioni preferite. Mi piace che il nuoto sia così inclusivo, è uno dei pochi sport che si possono praticare a prescindere dall’età e dalle capacità. Ho avuto la fortuna di vivere l’atmosfera delle gare di nuoto agonistico, master e paralimpico come allenatore, e ho amato ogni esperienza. Ovunque si vada, è una grande famiglia?.
A family for real, Caruana has 'sport in his blood'. His parents were water polo players and it was through swimming that he met his wife. "I spent a lot of time in the national pool in Malta because my father used to train there. He was the water polo goalkeeper for the national team for over 20 years and won the title of best goalkeeper at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. I also tried it out when I was a teenager, but I didn't have the fight in me that I needed for water polo. In swimming, on the other hand, it was all me and I felt more comfortable.”
His wife Rhea Cutajar, who was a swimmer, is now a Maltese national team water polo player and is also his coach, who is with him here in Rome. But in the future, the Caruana family could be fully represented. "My parents recently joined the masters swimming team and I hope they will join me at the 2024 European championships. I really enjoyed the atmosphere these days, because seeing people who are the age of my grandparents and parents doing the sport, their love inspires me to continue training and playing this sport for a long time to come.”