PAMCAST Interview | Gregorio Paltrinieri
After becoming the first Italian to win the longest Olympic pool race when he triumphed at Rio 2016, the 26-year-old “Caiman of the Azzurri swimming team” has turned in yet another dazzling performance. He was absolutely on fire at the 2020 Sette Colli Trophy, during which he set a new European record in the 1500m freestyle. We know he loves speed and relishes a challenge but now let’s find out some more personal information about the Italian sportsman.
You just turned 26. How did you celebrate?
With friends in Capri.
What do you want to achieve before turning 30?
I want to enjoy what I do as much as possible. And to do the best I can in the Olympics.
Achieving your European record in the 1500m freestyle was clear evidence of your determination. How important is it to dream big and make adjustments to get closer to your goals?
Very. That was my latest achievement. But I always need new motivation to carry me forward and keep me focused, even when I change direction.
Your current relationship with the water?
Training the body is one thing, but how do you train your mind?
Every day, little by little. I train, set goals and focus. Each day presents a new challenge.
What’s something you never want to do again?
I’d never want to regret anything. Everything I've done has brought me to where I am now.
How do you fight the repetitiveness of your sport?
A team is essential. If it is strong and cohesive, you’ll have all the support you need to make your work less taxing and to encourage you.
Your first thought when you wake up?
The NBA scores.
Sea or swimming pool?
Sea or mountains?
Always sea, especially a holiday to Australia: the Gold Coast and Melbourne.
Order or chaos?
Do you crave routine or spontaneity?
I want to live a new story every day.
Head or Heart?
Who are the champions that you respect and who inspire you?
Alberto Tomba and Serena Williams.
What sport would you pursue if you weren't a swimming champion?
Basketball or tennis
Do you follow a special diet?
I try to eat well all the time, so I don't have a real diet. Before a race I’ll load up on carbs.
Can you cook? What’s your favorite meal?
I don’t cook but I love cappelletti.
Who’s a historical figure you want to have over for dinner?
Basquiat and Tupac.
How have you passed your time during lockdown?
I did something I hadn't done for a long time… listened to music on vinyl and I picked up old CDs that I haven't played for a long time.
What’s the music that means the most to you?
I listen to a lot of music — mainly rap and R&B — even before my races.
Name a concert that rocked your world?
Jay-Z and Beyoncé in Rome.
Who’s a musician you want to see perform?
I can't wait to see the Weeknd.
Will you go back to normal? Or has the pandemic led you to consider a fresh start?
Probably a little of both. From the point of view of sports, everything has changed, so it is a new beginning. But I also want to get back to normal by traveling, being with people and traveling again.
Did anything positive come from this experience?
Getting the chance to go sailing. It’s something I hadn’t done for a long time and I haven't done it often in my life, but I like it.
In your book, you describe winning an Olympic gold medal and still not being happy. How did you recognize and overcome the weight of water?
With time, I began to appreciate what I do more and more without taking anything for granted. At the Rio Olympics, it seemed like I had to win gold but that's not always the case. You can realize this and internalize it only when you’ve done a lot of races.
Tomorrow you’ll wake up in the body of another athlete: who will you be and what sport will you play?
Allen Iverson. Basketball.
Panerai supports the exploits of modern heroes in extreme conditions by providing them instruments of extreme precision. Tell us about a Panerai watch you wore while pursuing your records?
During my training at sea I always have my Carbotech with me. I see it as a part of attaining my results.
How do you relate to the environment?
I am very attentive to the health of the environment. It is important to me. The planet is sending us unequivocal signals that it is in jeopardy. When I swim in the sea, changes in the environment are clearly visible and, in my small way, I try to do everything possible to protect that ecosystem. For example, during competitions I use supplies made from biodegradable material. I try to limit my use of single-use plastics as much as possible. Making a handful of changes can make anyone’s lifestyle more sustainable.
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
A family man with a job that keeps me close to the sea. But I don't want to get ahead of myself. I’ll take each day as it comes.