As the countdown begins for the World Short Course Swimming Championships in Hangzhou, China, from 11th to 16th December, arena has recruited two rising stars of Italian swimming to its team of champions: Alessandro Miressi, European 100m freestyle champion and Italian record holder (47.92), and Margherita Panziera, European 200m backstroke champion and Italian record holder (2:06.18). The athletes have signed three-year technical sponsorship contracts, which afford them arena’s best-in-class technical equipment and trademark brand support in their training and competition preparations.
Alessandro Miressi (GS Fiamme Oro [State Police Sports Group] / CN Turin), born in 1998 in Turin, is one of the new faces of Italian swimming.
After his first call-up as a 16-year-old to the national youth team for the Comen Cup in Netanya 2014, he went on the following year to win two silver medals at the European Games in Baku (100m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle relay). Later that year at Singapore’s World Junior Championships he picked up a 4x100m freestyle relay bronze along with fifth place in the individual 100m freestyle, despite being a year younger than most of his opponents. At the 2016 European Junior Championships in Hodmezovasarhely (Hungary), he won his first major individual gold medal, the 100m freestyle; at the same time, he picked up even 4 medals in the relay, as well as relay golds in the men’s and mixed 4X100m relay.
2017 Budapest marked his first appearance in a World Championship final as part of the 4x100m freestyle relay team (along with Magnini, Dotto and Vendrame), but unfortunately the team was disqualified for an irregular changeover. Undaunted, he continued working hard with coach Antonio Satta, and at the 2017 Universiade (World University Games) in Taipei he was part of the silver medal 4x100m freestyle relay team along with Zazzeri, Vendrame and Di Giorgio. He finished off the year at Copenhagen’s European SC Championships with a silver in the 4x50m freestyle relay with teammates Luca Dotto, Lorenzo Zazzeri and Marco Orsi.
In 2018, his past relay successes soon translated into his signature individual event, the 100m freestyle, at first the Mediterranean Games in Tarragona, where he won silver, and then two months later at the European Championships in Glasgow, where he swam a scintillating race to triumph in 48.01s, becoming the fifth Italian to win the title. Eight days later at the Italian Category Championships his progress took a quantum leap as he became the first Italian to break 48 seconds in the 100m freestyle, touching the wall at 47.92s.
“I’m really honored to join Team arena,” said Miressi. “Two years ago I had the opportunity to become part of the second edition of Swim Your Best, a talent scouting project created by arena in collaboration with the Italian Swimming Federation. That experience helped a lot in both my professional and personal growth, and it’s enabled me to appreciate even more the importance of the role that arena now plays in supporting me on my journey. The European gold that created swimming headlines for me is a dream come true, but I will try to keep my feet on the ground and continue with my preparations, knowing that I have the best support possible.”
Margherita Panziera (GS Fiamme Oro [State Police Sports Group] /CC Aniene), born in Treviso in 1995, is the new Italian backstroke queen.
In 2013 at the age of 18, Margherita made her first international appearance at the Mersin Mediterranean Games, where she won gold in the 4x100m medley relay, a silver in the 200m backstroke and a bronze in the 100m backstroke. At the Italian Summer Championships the following year, she won her first national title in the 200m backstroke. After this promising start to her career, the following two years showed that she was still maturing as a competitive swimmer. At the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, she did not progress beyond the 100m backstroke heats, and didn’t make the cut in the 200m backstroke semi-finals. In December of the same year, she failed to reap any podium spoils at the European Short Course Championships in Netanya (but she made the 200m backstroke final and 100m backstroke semi-finals), and in 2016 at at the Rio Olympics she missed qualifying for the 200m backstroke semi-finals by one position.
Greater concentration and more mature, focused athletic preparation started yielding results in 2017, with a 200m backstroke bronze at Copenhagen’s short course Europeans, setting a new Italian record (2:02.43). Her rise continued in 2018 with four gold medals at the Mediterranean Games in Tarragona (100m & 200m backstroke, 4x200m freestyle and 4x100m medley). She then took this form into the Sette Colli Trophy, where she became the first Italian woman to break one minute in the 100m backstroke (59.80), and followed this up by breaking Alessia Filippi’s nine-year-old national 200m backstroke record with a time of 2:07.16. A month later at the European Championships in Glasgow, she took her career to a new level with the 200m backstroke gold, setting new national and championship records with a time of 2:06.18. She also won a bronze medal in the 4x100m mixed medley relay.
“I’m really happy to start this collaboration with arena and I can’t wait to begin this journey together,” said Panziera. “For me as a swimmer, arena is a reference for brand excellence, professionalism, expertise and reliability. After my successes, particularly over this past year, it makes me proud to become part of a team where passion, enthusiasm and tenacity reign supreme. Knowing that I can count on arena’s support for the World Championships in Hangzhou gives me even more confidence and belief. I’m convinced this choice will only benefit my career.”
In addition to announcing the entry of the two Italian freestyle and backstroke champions into the arena team, the three-diamond brand is also renewing its support of another young Italian champion through to 2021: breaststroker Nicolò Martinenghi.
Born in Varese in 1999 (GS Fiamme oro Roma [State Police Sports Group] / Brebbia Swimming Club), Nicolò won 50m & 100m breaststroke gold at the World Junior Championships in Indianapolis 2017. Working with coach Marco Giovanni Pedoja, their next major target is the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, from August 9th to 25th.
Photo credit: Gian Mattia D’Alberto/Lapresse