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Patroness Federica Pellegrini dives into the Foro Italico with mascots Lea and Gastone

The European Aquatics championships won't start until tomorrow morning, 11 August, but today patroness Federica Pellegrini decided to dive into the pool that is dearest to her. No return to competition of course, because the Olympic, world and European champion of the women's 200m freestyle was challenged by mascots Gastone and Lea. It was early in the morning, Federica put on her swimsuit, swimming cup and guggles and had fun in the water with two rescue dogs that will be the stars at the Foro Italico in these days. The starting block was number 4, the one used by the top athletes, and the "take your marks" sign was given by her coach and future husband Matteo Giunta. Lea, an eight-year-old golden retriever weighing 28 kg, immediately followed her into the water, while Gastone, a 64 kg black Newfoundland, remained aside at first, then dived in but did not seem to like it too much. An unusual situation for Federica Pellegrini as there were no opponents, but two special friends. Yet for the legendary Italian champion every occasion is good for diving.

Il blocco era il numero 4, quello dei migliori, a dare il “take your marks” è stato il suo allenatore, e futuro marito, Matteo Giunta con Lea, golden retriever di otto anni, 28 kg di peso, che l’ha subito seguita in acqua, mentre Gastone, terranova nero di 64 kg, all’inizio è rimasto sulle sue, poi si è tuffato, ma non sembrava gradire troppo. Al contrario di Federica Pellegrini: non c’erano le avversarie, ma due amici speciali. Eppure per la mitica campionessa italiana ogni occasione è buona per tuffarsi.

Photo Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto Use of photographs is only permitted for publications registered for editorial purposes. Credits must be mentioned.

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