The Sette Colli Trophy meet will be held in the famous Foro Italico in Rome starting Tuesday and going through Thursday, as the clock starts ticking under 365 days to the reset Tokyo Olympic Games. The Sette Colli has long been one of the premiere in-season meets in European swimming as some of Italy’s best will be present at the pool that hosted the 1960 Olympics and the 1994 & 2009 World Championships. World records have been broken in year’s past and some have done lifetime bests in the historic pool.
The Rome pool is fast, and it should produce some fast swims this coming weekend.
This year’s version of the Sette Colli will be a unique setup, as the meet will only be three days long and men and women will swim in different sessions for prelims as the top eight will all return for finals. With the coronavirus shifting the Olympic year back another 365 days, many swimmers have spent the summer just trying to maintain some sort of fitness as they prepare to tackle Tokyo ahead of next year, as this weekend will be their first competition in many months since the coronavirus first started shutting sports down in March.
There have been a lot of question marks surrounding the fitness of the world’s swimmers as they come out of this summer with minimal training and little preparation as they have been forced out of established routines and have had to get creative to find new ways of training on land. But some swimmers have been able to return to racing without any bumps, and some – like USA’s Claire Curzan, Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey and Austria’s Felix Aubock, have been able to swim lifetimes bests this summer.
When many swimmers were out of the water and training on land in their garages, it felt like the year 2010 after the shiny suit era of 2008 and 2009 when many people in swimming circles believed that the sport had taken a step back and would never break the world records set the year prior in Rome. It took two years for one of those shiny suit records to land, but in the last 10 years, 28 of those world records have been broken, and just 12 remain. Long story short, swimming was able to get back on track, and it may take a shorter amount of time to get back than many initially thought.
What will the Sette Colli look like this week? If the small number of time trials are any indications, the clock will definitely matter despite what many originally thought.
This is the first swim meet for a lot of Europe’s best that did not attend the 4 Nations meet a couple weeks ago in Budapest as we are 348 days until the Tokyo Olympic Games.
It is hard to predict what to expect from these swimmers, since there is no data to determine who is in shape, who is ready to race, or who is in the right mindset to attack a competition. Expect the unexpected, and one thing is for certain ahead of the Sette Colli: the swimmers will be eager to race and see where they are a year out from Tokyo.