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The historic Stadio del Nuoto (Swimming Stadium) has hosted major international events, from the 1960 Olympic Games to the 1994 and 2009 world championships, including the 1983 European championships and the yearly Sette Colli International Swimming Trophy.

At the 1960 Games, Great Britain's Anita Lonsbrough became the first swimmer to set a world record in the 'most beautiful pool in the world' on 27 August 1960, stopping the clock at 2:49.50 in the women’s 200m breaststroke. Lynn Burke of the USA won the 100m backstroke in 1:09.00. On the men's side, compatriot Michael Troy lowered the time in the men’s 200m butterfly to 2:12.80. There was also great success for the US relays, with world best times set in the men's 4x200m freestyle, 4x100m medley, the women's 4x100m freestyle and 4x100m medley relays.

Twenty-three years later, German athletes from East and West Germany were the only ones to set world records. The six records came from Michael Gross in the men’s 200m freestyle (1:47.87), in the 200m butterfly (1:57.05) and in the 4x200m freestyle relay. Among the women, Ute Geweniger stood out in the 100m breaststroke with a time of 1:08.51 and in the 4x100m medley relay (4:05.79). The other record was broken in the women's 4x200m freestyle relay.

In the following world championship edition in 1994, China's Jingyi Le in the 100m freestyle (54.01), compatriot Cihon He in the 100m backstroke (1:00.16), Germany's Franziska Van Almsick (1:56.78) in the 200 butterfly and Australia's Samantha Riley in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.69) were the fastest women. China also dominated in the 4x100m freestyle and 4x100m medley relays. In the men’s events, only three new world records were set by Australia's Kieren Perkins in the 400m freestyle, Finland's Javi Sievinen in the 200m individual medlay and Tom Dolan in the 400m individual medlay.

We had to wait until the world championships in Rome 2009, from 18 July to 2 August, and the advent of the swimming super swimsuits to rewrite history once again. Out of the 40 world records that have been broken, among the 17 men's records, six are still valid, while among the 23 women's records, only Italy’s Federica Pellegrini's time in the women’s 200m freestyle still stands. Sweden's Sarah Sjöström will be the only 2009 world record holder to appear in the starting blocks of the forthcoming European Championships, having continually lowered her world’s best performances in the 100m butterfly over the years. There is still another world record that remains unbeaten from 2009: the one of the men’s 50m butterfly set by Ukraine's Andrij Govorov on 1 July 2018 at the 55 th edition of the Sette Colli Swimming Trophy.

Anticipation is growing in Rome. Who will be the next athlete to sign the book of records in the 'most beautiful pool in the world'?

Olympic Games 1960
200m butterfly Michael Troy (USA) 2:12.80 4x200m freestyle relay USA (G. Harrison, R. Blick, M. Troy, J. Farrell) 8:10.20 4x100m medley relay USA (McKinney, Hait, L. Larson, Farrell) 4:05.40
100m backstroke Lynn Burke (USA) 1:09.00 200 breaststroke Anita Lonsbrough (GBR) 2:49.50 4x100m freestyle relay USA (J. Spillane, S. Stobs, C. Wood, C. von Saltza) 4:08.90 4x100m medley relay USA (L. Burke, P. Kempner, C. Schuler, C. von Saltza) 4:41.10

European Championships 1983
200m freestyle Michael Gross (GER) 1:47.87
200m butterfly Michael Gross (GER) 1:57.05
4x200m freestyle West Germany (Sitt, Schowithka, Schmidt, Gross) 7:20.40
100m breaststroke Ute Geweniger (GDR) 1:08.51
4x200m freestyle relay East Germany (Otto, Strauss, Sirch, Meineke) 8:02.27
4x100m medley relay East Germany (Kleber, Geweniger, Geissler, Meineke) 4:05.79

World Championships 1994

400m freestyle Kieren Perkins (AUS) 3:43.80
200m individual medley Jani Sievinen (FIN) 1:58.16
400m individual medley Tom Dolan (USA) 4:12.30
100m freestyle Jingyi Le (CHN) 54.01
200m freestyle Franziska Van Almsick (GER) 1:56.78
100m backstroke Cihon He (CHN) 1:00.16
100m breaststroke Samantha Riley (AUS) 1:07.69
4x100m freestyle relay China (Jingyi Le, Yng Shan, Ying Le, Bin Lu) 3:37.91
4x100m medley relay China (Cihong He, Guohong Dai, Limin Liu, Jingyi Le) 4:01.67

Mondiali 2009
100m stile libero Cesar Cielo Filho (BRA) 46?91
200m stile libero Paul Biedeann (GER) 1?42?00
400m stile libero Paul Biedeann (GER) 3?40?07
800m stile libero Zhang Lin (CHN) 7?32?12
50m dorso Liam Tancock (GBR) 24.04 (24.08 in semifinale)
200m dorso Aaron Peirsol (USA) 1:51.92
50m rana Cameron van der Burgh (RSA) 26.67 (26.74 in semifinale)
100m rana Brenton Rickard (AUS) 58.58
200m rana Christian Sprenger (AUS) 2:07.31
100m farfalla Michael Phelps (USA) 49.82
                         Milorad ?avi? (SRB) 50.01 in semifinale
200m farfalla Michael Phelps (USA) 1:51.51
200m misti Ryan Lochte (USA) 1:54.10
Staffetta 4x200m stile libero Stati Uniti (Michael Phelps, Ricky Berens, David Walters, Ryan Lochte) 6:58.55
Staffetta 4x100m misti Stati Uniti (Aaron Peirsol, Eric Shanteau, Michael Phelps, David Walters) 3:27.28
50m stile libero Britta Steffen (GER) 23.73
100m stile libero Britta Steffen (GER) 5 52.07
200m stile libero Federica Pellegrini (ITA) 1:52.98 (1:53.67 in semifinale)
400m stile libero Federica Pellegrini (ITA) 3:59.15
50m dorso Jing Zhao (CHN) 27.06
                    Anastasia Zueva (RUS) 27.38 in semifinale
100m dorso Gemma Spofforth (GBR) 58.12
                   Anastasia Zueva (RUS) 58.48 in semifinale
200m dorso Kirsty Coventry (ZIM) 2:04.81
50m rana Julija Efimova (RUS) 30.09
100m rana Rebecca Soni (USA) 1:04.84
200m rana Annamay Pierse (CAN) 2:20.12
50m farfalla Therese Alshammar (SWE) 25.07
100m farfalla Sarah Sjöström (SWE) 56.06 (54.44 in semifinale)
200m farfalla Jessicah Schipper (AUS) 2:03.41
                         Mary Descenza (USA) 2:04.14 in batteria
200m misti Ariana Kukors (USA) 2:06.15 (2:07.03 in semifinale)
Staffetta 4x100m stile libero Paesi Bassi (Inge Dekker, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Frederike Heemskerk, Magdalena Veldhuis) 3:31.72
Staffetta 4x200m stile libero Cina (Yang Yu, Qian Wei Zhu, Jing Liu, Jiaying Pang) 7:42.08
Staffetta 4x100m misti Cina (Jing Zhao, Huijia Chen, Liuyang Jiao, Zhesi Li) 3:52.19

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

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