Coach Dave Ling asked me to write about an inspirational swim…
So, I choose the Women’s 200 Freestyle from 2017 World Championships!
Federica Pellegrini, born in 1988, is in Lane 6. Katie Ledecky is in Lane 4 next to Emma McKeon in Lane 5. Nobody is talking about Pellegrini everybody is talking about Ledecky & McKeon. Australia vs. USA.
Ledecky hasn’t been beaten internationally maybe ever at this point.
Pellegrini is old news – she got 4th in her pet event the year prior at the 2016 Rio Olympics. It was devastating to her.
When I watch Pellegrini, I see someone that is focused yet relaxed and her first 50 was exactly that.
She’s 5th at the 50.
From the onset of the 2nd 50, Pellegrini is now on the lane line and about a half a body length behind McKeon. It’s almost like she is sizing her up.
She’s 4th at the 100.
The 3rd 50 is a typical place to attack the race but Pellegrini is maintaining her same stroke rate/breathing pattern/kicking style while Ledecky and McKeon are going at it in the middle of the pool.
She’s again 4th at the 150.
Rewind and watch the last 10 meters going into the final wall. Pellegrini builds into and attacks this wall. She’s in full on beast mode from the push off. Her kick is now full blown.
Pellegrini rides the lane line, looks right into Emma McKeon’s eyes, and crushes her spirit.
Her finish is like a dart coming out of Michael van Gerwen’s hand.
She touches first. Ledecky & McKeon tie for 2nd.
Pellegrini gets out and abruptly retires from the 200 Free.