Patrinieri (ITA) always on the podium since 2012: "Every time it's been an incredible challenge"
His clear European success in the men's 800m freestyle did not go unnoticed. It was a further proof that Italy's Gregorio Paltrinieri is a certainty for the Italian team.
For him, Roma 2022 has just started. He is expected to compete in four more races, "his” 1500m freestyle, tomorrow afternoon 16 Augus, and three more in open water swimming in Ostia: the 5km, the 10km and the 4x1500m relay. But SuperGreg is not backing out, on the contrary he is raising the bar even higher.
"The world championships in Budapest were great, I was very satisfied. And now I think my condition may be even better than I was there. Which time should I expect for the 1500m freestyle? The important thing is to win and, taking into consideration the level of the competitors, I know that a fast race will be needed.”
The reference is of course to Mysha Romanchuck (UKR) and Florian Wellbrock (GER), nowadays his everlasting rivals. However, Greg will get additional help from his crowd, which literally erupted during his race. "During the 800m freestyle, the stands were going crazy, as I was swimming I could feel it and see it," Gregorio said. "It was an incredible boost, an indescribable emotion."
The age bar is slowly getting lower. Race after race, the new generation of swimming is achieving sensational results. Here in Rome, Romania's David Popovici set a world record in the men's 100m freestyle, while Italy's Lorenzo Galossi won bronze in the 800m freestyle, just at 16 years of age: "Popovici pumped me up, he's animal," Paltrinieri said smiling. "It's amazing how he swims. I saw the race and he really impressed me. Also, Galossi, let's not forget he just 16 years old. I would not talk about him as the future of Italian swimming, but as the present."
Paltrinieri's career is extraordinary because it has never had a break. It has always been consistent. Of course, like all proper growth paths, it has had moments of great rise, alternating sometimes with aftershocks, which, however, the Italian athlete has never shown to the outside world. The common denominator we all know has always been a podium or a medal. In other words, success: "In the 800m freestyle I have been on the podium six consecutive times since the 2012 European championships, either with a gold or silver medal. In the 1500m freestyle as well, I have five in a row. Every time it's been an incredible challenge with myself and with my opponents. Since 2012 thousands of things have changed around me, even the competitors, and remaining there at the top has a special meaning to me.”
Very special. Because winning once can also be a matter of luck. But fortune does not repeat itself. To be able to succeed continuously over the years and to make history you have to have something more in you. "Talent matters a lot, but on its own it's not enough. Over the years I have come to the conclusion that if I really put myself all into it, eventually the results will come. I can say that it is my stubbornness that gets me where I am. I never give up. It's all about working hard all day long. And not everyone is willing to do that. Someone may be, it but it'll be less than what I am. Every day I come to my room exhausted and I know I've done the best I can."
Many people did not agree with the decision to have started the open water parallel swimming career path a couple of years ago. Why would you do it? They thought. Paltrinieri, however, never had any doubts.
"I am someone who asks around and questions myself, but then I do my own thing. Few people agreed with me, and that made me realise it was the right choice. I'm a bit of a character, I take things personally. And today, with hindsight, I have to say that I wouldn't be here without all the changes that have taken place over the years. The main one has undoubtedly been looking for new motivations in open water swimmiing. Every day challenging myself keeps me alive and helps me regain a new spirit. Maybe without open water swimming, I would have already quit." And therefore, we are sure that many Italian fans will be forever thankful to the sea for this.
Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto Use of photographs is only permitted for publications registered for editorial purposes. Credits must be mentioned.