Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

After losing his world title in 2019, the versatile Italian has laid down a major statement of intent ahead of the Tokyo Olympics

By Andrew Binner

Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallist Gregorio Paltrinieri has broken the 1500m freestyle swimming European Record and Italian national record, clocking 14:33:10 at the 2020 Sette Colli Trophy in his native Italy.

The Carpi native's sizzling swim was also the second-fastest over the distance in history, just 2.08 seconds off Sun Yang's world record from the London 2012 Olympics.

In 2019, Paltrinieri surrendered his world 1500m title in Gwangju, Korea, taking home bronze while Germany's Florian Wellbrock took the gold in 14:36.54.

After changing coaches in an attempt to add open water swimming to his repertoire, the 25-year-old's new 1500m personal best will serve as a stark reminder to his rivals that he is fully committed to retaining his Olympic title at the Tokyo Games in 2021.

Triple threat at Tokyo Olympics?

At the 2019 FINA world championships, the versatile swimmer finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics in Japan.

In an amazing feat of versatility, he then won the 800m freestyle in the pool with a European record time, before claiming the 1500m bronze medal all at the same event.

Paltrinieri could line up as a favourite to medal in all three events in Tokyo.