At the January Geneva Challenge, team Italy landed some great successes in the pool. At the three-day event at the Centre Sportif des Vernets, Geneva, the Italian contingent returned plenty of hardware led by Thomas Ceccon and Margherita Panziera.
Italian swimmers competed against a strong Swiss team at the Geneva Challenge 2022, held across the weekend of January 21st – 23rd.
Top athletes at the event included Switzerland’s former European Champion and Tokyo 2021 bronze medallist Jeremy Desplanches and 2021 Olympic bronze medallist in the 100m butterfly, Noé Ponti.
The top performer from the native Swiss team was Roman Mityukov, who took a couple of golds in the 200m free and the 50m back. Attendees this year included participants from France, Russia, Hungary, and more.
Ceccon leads the way for Italy
There was a big weekend for Frenchman Thomas Ceccon. His winning 100m backstroke time at the Geneva challenge was 53.05, a little down on some of his best efforts. But it was still good enough to pick up a new meet record. It saw the former World Junior Champion positively start the season.
2021 had been a big year for the 21-year-old, with medals collected at the European Championship, the short course European Championship, and two silver medals at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics from team relay events.
Ceccon is Italy’s fastest man in the 100m backstroke after setting a time of 52.30 in the individual men’s event at last year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. Touching home fourth with that time, he shaved a fair chunk of time off his previous National Record of 52.84 set in the 2020 Italian Nationals.
Panziera headlines for blue swimming
Another of Italy’s outstanding performers at the 2022 Geneva Challenge was Margherita Panziera, putting in some eye-catching performances in the pool. The 26-year-old picked up a new meet record with a time of 2:10.40 in the women’s 200m backstroke in Geneva. She is the sixth-fastest woman in the event from a time recorded at the 2021 Italian Nationals.
Panziera, a two-time European Championship 200m back gold medallist, carried on from some fine form she found last year at the 2021 European Aquatics Championship.
At that meet, the Italian earned five medals, including a gold. Unfortunately, her Olympic challenge in the 200m back in Tokyo ended in the semi-final.
Strong Italian team impressive
Italy sent a powerful team to the Geneva challenge, including Fabio Scozzoli and Luca Dotto. Further hardware went to team Italy at the Geneva Challenge as Elena di Liddo picked up the gold medal in the 50m fly event with a time of 27/17.
Teammate Matteo Rivolta, a short course World Champion in Abu Dhabi 2021, also came away with gold from the men’s 100m fly in a time of 52.70.