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Dotto Cuts A Dash On Day 1 Of Trials

Apr 9, 2013  - Craig Lord

Luca Dotto stole the show on the first evening of finals at Italian nationals in Riccione with a 48.46 blast in the 100m freestyle. Only Olympic gold and silver medallists Nathan Adrian (USA), 48.11, and James Magnussen (AUS), 48.38, have been faster this season. Early days.

Even so, Dotto has made the grade for the big show in Barcelona this summer. Racing for GS Forestale/Larus Nuoto, he was out second in 23.26, Marco Orsi on 23.17 at the turn, with Luca Leonardi, 21, out in 23.32. A 25.20 return stole the crown for Dotto, with Leonardi took silver in 49.13, 0.01sec ahead of GS Fiamme Oro Roma teammate Orsi, also racing for CN UISP - Bologna. 

That locked out former world champion Filippo Magnini, on 49.20, next in line as relay reserves for world championships in Barcelona in July and August Michele Santucci, 49.51, and Gianluca Maglia, 49.88. Lorenzo Benatti, on 49.89, and Alex di Giorgio, 50.07, completed the final.

Towards the other end of the distance spectrum, 18-year-old Gregorio Paltrinieri, GS Fiamme Oro Roma/Coopernuoto, held off his age-group peer Gabriele Detti 7:48.22 to 7:48.43 in the 800m freestyle. Their times are 3rd and 4th best in the world so far this year, Ryan Cochrane (CAN) and Sun Yang (CHN) on 7:43 and 7:45 respectively at their own domestic trials in the past week.

There was nothing in it the whole way, Paltrinieri on 3:51.63 to Detti's 3:52.44 at the half-way mark, one of the biggest gaps of the race a 6:50.18 to 6:51.56 difference with 100m to go, Paltrinieri then holding off a late turn of pace, 56.87 to 58.04, from Detti over the last two laps. Detti's last 100m is the kind of world-class return that can make all the difference come the medal-chaser: 56.55, for example, is the last 100m split of Cochrane on his way to silver behind Sun in 2011. 

Both men will race at FINA world titles. Luca Baggio, was the third of four men inside 8mins, on 7:55.83, with experienced international Samuel Pizzetti left nursing fourth, on 7:55.86.

The 50m breaststroke saw Mattia Pesce, GS Fiamme Oro Roma/Forum Sport Center, get the better of world s/c 100m champion Fabio Scozolli, Centro Sportivo Esercito/Imolanuoto, 27.32 to 27.38, the bronze going to Edoardo Giorgetti in 27.84, 0.01sec ahead of Francesco Di Lecce. Pesce's effort took him 0.01sec inside Slovenian Damir Dugonjic's pace setter at the Swim Cup Eindhoven, which ended on Sunday.

Stefania Pirozzi, GS Fiamme Oro Roma/Circolo Canottieri Napoli, cracked out a big personal best of 2:08.75 for victory in the 200m butterfly. The 19-year-old had sported a best of 2:11.19 since 2011. The minor spoils went to Alessia Polieri and Emanuela Albenzi, in 2:13.15 and 2:13.60 respectively.

Federica Pellegrini, Circolo Canottieri Aniene, the defending world 400m champion bypassed that event in favour of a victory in the 100m backstroke, on 1:00.69, off a 29.92 split. Her clubmate Elena Gemo took silver in 1:01.55 and half-way leader Arianna Barbieri took bronze in 1:01.62.

In Pellegrini's absence in the 400m freestyle, Martina De Memme, Centro Sportivo Esercito/Nuoto Livorno, took the 400m crown in 4:10.54 ahead of Martina Caramignoli, 4:12.02, and Aurora Ponsele, 4:12.32, 200m ace Alice Nesti locked out in 4:13.51.

Matteo Milli, Circolo Canottieri Aniene, took the 100m backstroke crown in 54.73 ahead of Damiano Lestingi, Circolo Canottieri Aniene, on  54.88 after having scraped into the final in an outside lane. Th bronze went to Fabio Laugeni, 18 and racing for Larus Nuoto, on 55.17. Having missed the final, Niccolo Bonacchi consoled himself with a 55.03 win in the B final.

The last race of the session, the women's 4x100m freestyle went to Centro Sportivo Esercito in 3:44.18, ahead of C. Canottieri Aniene A team on 3:46.09, Pellegrini producing the swiftest of all splits, on 54.22.