10/14/2019 Off By Sara

The curtains comes down in Naples after the first day of competitions. Federica Pellegrini, captain of Aqua Centurions team and Matteo Giunta, the head coach, released their opinions about this first amazing night in Naples.


Day 1 of the second leg of the International Swimming League approaches its end. These are the words of Federica Pellegrini, the spearhead of Italian National Team and captain of Aqua Centurions Team:

“Today it has been fantastic, the home races give a lot of emotions. For us it’s a team game, having the support of the fans is really amazing. And this is a real cheer, in Indianapolis it was not like this”

Federica rejects rumors about the fact that this was her last race in Naples:

“The fact has been interpretated in a wrong way. There will be no scoops if after Tokyo I do what I say I have to do for four years. Maybe this will be the last ISL, maybe I will remain in other guises”.

Moreover, she leaves a gap open on Naples Grand Prix, an event she always takes part to.

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Federica Pellegrini raced in 200 – meter freestyle, finishing 4th, pushed by the warm encouragement of the spectators in the Scandone swimming pool. She is satisfied with her time, 1’53″85: she started swimming only on 26th of August, and this is a delicated moment of the season:

“I’m very happy with my time, considering the period I am in. Actually, I am surprised because I’ve done it after a 52″4 in the relay which is a very good time for me. We are very happy to be at home, at the Scandone”.

One of the reasons why International Swimming League has shown up is that of encourage professionalism in the swimming world.

“ISL can bring a lot of good things in the swimming. It can make the swimming increase from a professional point of view. In Italy we are considered as amateurs. The more swimming grows, the more swimmers are considered as professionals”.

One of the streghts of this new format is the spectacularity of the races, made exciting thanks to the innovative format of the teams, the rank and skins races with the help of lights and music.

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“The show helps a lot because people can getting attached to this type of swimming, the more it will become important, the more it helps us”.

The form is revolutionary and, certainly, easier to be understood.

“In Italy we are tied up to team games and, in this case, we are part of that category. There are faster races, one after the other, everything happen in 2 hours, so those who watch TV can follow the races easily.

Maybe for us it is even too fast – for the very short recovery time – but it is right so – it is right that show rules are followed”.

In the first race day the home team, Aqua Centurions, finished 3rd with 174 points, behind Cali Condors and Energy Standard, rispectively with 237.5 and 230 points. The leaderboardes is closed by DC Trident with 162.5 points.

“Today it has been an amazing day because on the one hand we have been faster than in Indianapolis, on the other hand we have been unlucky.

In the 400 – meter IM German Heintz has had breathing problem, Margherita Panziera has been disqualified. By the way, we have obtained the third place with a larger gap than in Indianapolis. Tomorrow the day will not be easy, but we will try to keep the concentration on”.

Does ISL highlight team feeling? According to Federica, yes it does!

“Indianapolis was a test, we did not know exactly how it worked. Here in Naples we are more compact. This week all together here in Naples helped us so much, we are creating a really strong team feeling, we are close – knit and we push each other in order to go faster.

This is something completely new. In this way we are less scared in competing: to have a teammate next to you, even in an individual race, it’s fantastic.”

Federica Pellegrini also speaks about her role of captain and she acclaims the head coach, who is also her coach, Matteo Giunta.

“I’m really proud to be the captain and I’m really proud that Matteo is the head coach of this team.

According to me, this is a weel -deserved role, he is an international coach: he speaks some foreign languages, he is able to speak with everyone: he has been chosen for his sports results but also for his communicative skills.

I’m happy because our team is 90% represented by the National Team, while other teams most concentrated on a broader market. I’m proud of everyone.


The microphone passes to the aforementioned Matteo Giunta, who gets back the unexpected of the day, including the disqualification of Margherita Panziera for her legs in freestyle before the turn.

“We could have been also 30 points over Dc Trident. The goal, which is also the one we had in Indianapolis, is to confront us with them and pass them”.

Giunta is happy because his athletes gave everything, involved in the team mission. He saw them getting angry when they were losing for some hundredths.

All the athletes, when they have been contactated, they were happy to have the possibility to partecipateto ISL with this team.

This week in Naples allowed us to get to konw each other better. To go out for a dinner or to visit Pompei has caused the Group to be created, in order to be not only teammates but also friends.

Moreover, to speak different languages such as Italian, Portoguese, Greek, Spanish, German is really funny. Cultures are mixed, everyone has the possibility to “take” something from someone else”.

Next appointment is the European Derby in London, on 23rd and 24th of November.

“Considering European Teams, those who are here (especially Cali Condors) are the greatest of the League. So it will be tough.

We will be near to SC European Championships so a lot of Italians will have a state of form higher than what we have been seeing”.

There is no lack of positive feedbacks:

“Onestly, I have seen some performances I did not expect, because of the moment of the season.

For me, the important is the team to work well.

When you are able to pass serenity and not to add pressure, you obtain better performances. They know that it’s not up to me to criticize them or to put them under pressure for a performance”

And about the pubic, he says:

“We have felt the difference compared to Indianapolis. To compete at home helped us and for this reason guys have been able to give more and more.

Moreover, for our athletes who are used to race at the beginning of the year in some meetings of a lower level, ISL represents for them the possibility of a growth.

We can see important performances because athletes contrast against athletes of an high level.

It is great also for the European championships which is an important occasion”.