The 400m free is off Federica Pellegrini's agenda this season but the 200m is back on: the world record holder, racing for Circolo Canottieri Aniene, was out in 58.49 and home in 2:00.15 in heats at Italian nationals in Riccione this morning.
Carli Diletta, 2:00.73, Chiara Luccetti, Aliuce Mizzau and Martina de Meme, all on 2:01s, will flank the national icon in the final as the line-up chases 4x200m free berths for world championships in Barcelona this summer. Pellegrini has that relay in mind too, rather than the solo event, and has spent the week winning backstroke races, her 2:08.06 victory over 200m yesterday just 0.03sec shy of the Italian record.
In other action, 400IM and 200m backstroke champion Federico Turrini led the way to the 200IM final in 2:02.33, David Cova and breaststroke ace Fabio Scozzoli next through on 2:03s. Luca Dotto led the way in 50m free heats on 22.21 ahead of Federico Bocchia, 22.32, and Marco Orsi, 22.33.
The big showdown at French nationals in Rennes this evening will unfold in the 100m freestyle, Olympic 200m free champion Yannick Agnel, 4th over two laps at London 2012, centre stage.