New Zealand: The fourth day of action at the New Zealand nationals in Auckland produced no qualifiers for the World Championships on FINA A times. Matthew Stanley, Matamata, took the 100m free in 50.31, over a 50.70 effort from Cameron Simpson, Templeton; Samantha Lee, Capital, claimed the 200m butterfly in 2:12.58; and Mitchell Donaldson, North Shore, won the 200m medley in 2:01.60. In the dash events, Hayley Palmer, North Shore, topped the freestyle in 25.56, 0.03sec ahead of clubmate Samantha Richter, with 13-year-old Gabrielle Fa'amausili, Laser Mt Eden Swimming Club, sharing bronze with Sophia Batchelor, 17, on 26.17. Breaststroke went to Beckie Dooley in 33.26; the backstroke finals went to 13-year-old Bobbi Gichard backstroke, on 29.51, and and Gareth Kean, on 25.42. The heats sessions saw world short-course champion Lauren Boyle book lane four for the final tomorrow in 8:37.54.
Italy: distance freestyle ace Samuel Pizzetti is leaving Ostia in a return to Milan and his home club, Nuotatori Milanesi. He will be coached by Arnd Ginter, of Germany. Ginter once threw down a challenge to take Pizzetti out of his comfort zone. Pizzetti responded by cycling the 25km to his training session. He was exhausted when he arrived, and needed his coach to give him a lift home by car. Even so, it was the beginning of a new regimen, a new passion.
Meanwhile, Federica Pellegrini has confirmed that she will include her signature event, the 200m freestyle, in her programme for spring nationals from April 9-13. She will also race the 100 and 200m backstroke and three relays for her club, Aniene. You can catch up on all things Pellegrini at the 2008 Olympic champion's website.