Foro Italico Showdown – Rome 2022 celebrates participation of 46 LEN member federations – 14 individual European Champions from Budapest 2021 to retain their respective titles

Official Roma 2022 medals. LEN / Simeone Castrovillari

Fans will be back on the stands in Rome to witness the last major long-course showcase of the swimming season with 557 swimmers from 46 LEN federations on the starting blocks.

As for Italy’s capital and the magnificent venues in the Foro Italico, it will be the first major international event here after the legendary pool complex hosted the 2009 FINA World Championships.

That was the second edition here as Rome also played host in 1994.

Now the Eternal City is to stage its second European Championships too, the first was held in 1983.

Back then 30 events were in the programme, now 43 finals are schedules – and among the line-up is the unique 4x200m mixed free relay, contested only at the European Championships.

OVER 550 COMPETITORS – Italy, Britain and France with the largest teams

It comes as no surprise that host Italy entered the largest team and will compete with a total of 57 swimmers. Great Britain (41), France and Poland (both 30), Germany (29), Hungary (26), Sweden (25), the Netherlands (23) and Spain (22) will also provide strength in numbers and individual performances.

A total of 46 of the 52 LEN Member Federations are to send 557 athletes (according to the final entries, however, late withdrawals are still possible).

Last year in Budapest three nations, Great Britain, Italy and Russia continued to dominate. The top three nations combined medal tally (GBR 26, RUS 22, ITA 27) showed overwhelming performances: they took 75 medals altogether, 58% of the medals handed over.

In Glasgow 2018 they had 72 medals (55%). For the first time after Berlin 2014, Great Britain topped the medal chart in swimming as they won a record number of titles, 11.

Both this number and Italy’s 27 medals in total was a record since the mixed relay events have been inaugurated in 2014.

GB also set a new record by winning seven relay titles out of nine (finished 7-2-0 in relays, Russia was 2-2-1, Italy 0-1-7, Netherlands 0-3-0). With Russia not competing at this event, host Italy and Great Britain may have a chance to come up even stronger.

Rome 2009 – a golden and world-record-flooded event – LEN / Simeone Castrovillari


Thirteen years ago, at the 2009 FINA World Championships, the Foro Italico witnessed a real flood of world records, thanks to the ‘super-suits; which were subsequently banned at the end of that season.

Almost all events had a new global mark by the end of the meet (43 new WRs were set in total) and many speculated that those times would remain untouchable for many years.

However, the next generations of brilliant athletes started to bring down the ‘unbeatable’ records in succession.

As of today, only six world records are still standing in the men’s events and only one survived in the women’s events from the Rome WR-massacre.

Here are the times are yet to beat from Rome 2009.

Federica Pellegrini celebrates gold and a world record at Rome 2009. LEN / Simeone Castrovillari


100m free: 46.91 by Cesar Cielo (BRA)

200m free: 1:42.00 by Paul Biedermann (GER)

400m free: 3:40.07 by Paul Biedermann (GER)

800m free: 7:32.12 by Zhang Lin (CHN)

200m back: 1:51.92 by Aaron Peirsol (USA)

4x200m free: 6:58.55 by the USA.

Other ‘shiny WRs to beat (not set in Rome): 50m free: 20.91 (by Cielo), 400m IM: 4:03.84 (by Michael Phelps, since 2008, the oldest standing individual WR), 4x100m free: 3:08.24 (by the USA, since 2008).


200m free: 1:52.98 by Federica Pellegrini (ITA)

Other WR from 2009: 200m fly: 2:01.81 by Liu Zige (CHN).


A 14-year-old Hana Beiqi from Kosovo will be the youngest competitor in the field, she was born on 8 September 2008.

Italy’s Lorenzo Galossi is the youngest male swimmer, he turned 16 in May and he is fresh from winning two titles (400-800m free) at the junior Europeans in Otopeni last month.

Spain’s Jessica Vall (33) a two-time silver medallist in the 200m breaststroke (2016, 2018) is the oldest among the women while Italy’s three-time European champion Fabio Scozzoli (34) who celebrated his birthday earlier this month, is the most senior male swimmer.


Kristof Milak
Kristof Milak one of the biggest world record breaking contenders in Rome. Photo: Simone Castrovillari/LEN

In Rome, new European champions will be crowned in 16 individual events (seven women, nine men) as the 2021 title-holders will not participate. However, 14 Budapest champions – out of 34 individual events – will try to retain their respective titles.

Since the last editions a number a number of former champions have decided to step away from the sport. Six-time Olympic medallist Hungarian Laszlo Cseh, who won 14 individual long course European titles competed in a record 10 editions between 2002 and 2021.

Among the women, Italy’s 200m freestyle queen Federica Pellegrini (whose world record from Rome 2009 is still standing), and two Dutch greats, Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Femke Heemskerk, who won three titles in Budapest 2021 between them have retired since last year’s Olympics.


For more information about the ‘ones-to-watch’ head to the swimming and latest news pages on the LEN website.