The morning after the record I went to the newsstand and found Benny in all the papers; I got into my car and they were talking about her at Radio Deejay. “But what?” I thought. Absurd, this dimension does not belong to us, we look at it almost with amazement.

Benedetta Pilato: growth

This weird couple will have time to get used to: Vito D’Onghia, an ASL employee who loves teaching children to swim (As a type I am the opposite of the general), when still very young, he discovers a 4-year-old peperino who responds to the name Benedetta Pilato, which at first does not even jump into the water willingly and is today the fastest frog in the West and also in the East, world record of 50 in 29 ”30. The two begin a path of friendship (Benedetta came to my wedding, she was in the hospital when my first child was born who is now 3 years old and recognizes her on TV) and technical growth in parallel that has few equals in the history of sport: The first time at the Assoluti I took pictures of Paltrinieri, now Vito says, who is 38 years old and enjoyed the roof of the world, even from a distance. Do you want to know which is Benedetta’s secret? I could talk to her about training, put myself here to pull her off, but the base is another: we have started for fun and we will continue like this. In the morning she goes to school and I go to work, in the afternoon we dedicate ourselves to our passion. Before winning the Tokyo pass, Benny didn’t even know what time to qualify. She has never mythologized swimmers, so she appears brazen: she looks at whether a nice girl or what color her nails are, not what times ago. I have a secure salary, i Benedetta’s results do not feed my family. This makes the difference, I am always serene and I transmit serenity to you in the water. The rest are done by father Salvatore, an employee in the Navy, and mother Antonella: Do you know how many I have seen who do not even have a little finger of Benedetta’s talent, but have parents who subject them to hallucinating trips and if the results do not turn out to be a tragedy? Benedetta’s parents did not.

Benedetta Pilato: training

Leave everything like this, then. Don’t touch anything as long as you can. Benedetta registered Aniene, goes to Rome to do some collegiate, has tried the experience of Isl, the championship for which been in Budapest a month and a half, then returns to Taranto, where a mix of very high craftsmanship and Italian ingenuity was created at the service of a natural phenomenon (Benny has the characteristics of a pure sprinter, the white fiber, the super-reactive muscle fiber) but also of a little girl with a changing body. This will be the challenge of the coming months: Swim, tack, start, dive, every month we have to readjust them, we try to accompany the growth of Benedetta, who is already completely different from when she won world silver in Guangzhou at the age of 14. The staff in addition to me consists of the bio mechanic Stefano Nurra who works with the Turkish national team, the doctor Franco Confalonieri (who sees you once a month) and the athletic trainer Luigi Zaffarano. Together they’re sewing Benny a swim of his own. Some say it resembles that of Adam Peaty, the world ruler of the frog: They are the two fastest in the world, Peaty more powerful, all arms. I must say that no one swims like her: if he sees the others breathe and dive, Benny no, always above the water, always in the grip, with a very high pace, a very expensive swim, that’s why he can’t do 200.

Benedetta Pilato towards Tokyo

The gear now has to fine-tune the 100, the Olympic specialty, with which Benny is learning to come to terms (with lightning-fast improvements). So far everything has worked so perfectly that you don’t even want to remember that we are talking about Taranto, a city with a thousand problems, and underline the lack of facilities. I could say that we have prepared a World Cup in a tub with the mattresses next to it, but what’s the point? We also have fun in the trips to the Bari pool, Benny a chatterbox. Without forgetting that we go to the sea from March to October. And then we need the spirit of adaptation of us in the South, at the races you don’t find all the conditions you want, Benny is more ready when he goes out.

Now, with the compliments of the world collected, with the messages of Lilly King and Ryan Lochte on the phone, there is a small tsunami, media and emotional, to manage. Concerns about the Olympics will grow. Concerns? I really don’t want to hear about it. For us, the Olympics must be like Christmas: the wait, the eve must be even more beautiful than the party. I always tell Benny that we have to enjoy every moment, that our grandchildren will have to tire of being told how crazy the Tokyo experience was. Let’s wait for Santa Claus then.

May 25, 2021 (change May 25, 2021 | 00:07)


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