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After a downturn following COVID-19, open water racing picked up again this year. This year’s major international open races included the World Championships, the FINA Marathon Swimming World Series and the European Open Water Cup.

The 2022 Swammy Award is for Male Open Water Athlete of the Year Gregorio PaltrinieriFrom Italy.

Paltrinieri opened 2022 with a win in the first leg of the FINA Marathon Swim World Series in Portugal. He won gold in the 10k by just two seconds over the Italian Domenico Acerenza. Paltrinieri continued his winning streak in the return leg in Paris, winning by just over a second. In Canada, he missed the third leg and the fourth was cancelled, but ended the streak with another gold medal in Israel. He eventually connected with Hungary Christoph Rasowski for the overall series title.

In addition to his individual efforts in the series, he also contributed to Italy’s 4x1500m relay team in three of the four stops. Italy won gold in the first two relays and won bronze in the final stop, Israel.

Paltrinieri won three open water medals at the World Championships in Budapest. After winning silver in the 5k behind Germany Florian WellbrockPaltrinieri responded with a victory in the 10k. He and teammate Atcerenza pulled away from Wellbrock late in the race, going 1-2 in 1:50.56.8 and 1:50.58.2, respectively. Paltrinieri was also a key member of Italy’s 4x1500m relay that won bronze.

In August, Paltrinieri qualified for the European Aquatic Championships, where she won gold in the 5k open water event, beating teammate Acerenza by less than a second. He also topped the overall table for the 2022 LEN Open Water Cup, which took place throughout the year. Paltrinieri collected two bronze medals in the opening two events of the LEN Open Water Cup, followed by victory at the third stop in Italy, earning him 2,000 points to win the overall series.

While this award focuses exclusively on open water achievements, it’s worth noting Paltrinieri’s success in the pool this year as well. Prior to the World Open Water Championships, Paltrinieri competed in the 800m freestyle and 1500m freestyle. After finishing just off the podium in the 800 free in fourth place, Paltrinieri bounced back with a dominant performance in the 1,500. 32.80. He finished the year with a pair of gold medals at the Short Course Worlds, winning both the 800 and 1,500.


  • Florian Wellbrock, Germany. Another swimmer who has had success in both the pool and open water, Wellbrock is another 2022 world champion in the open water, but in the 5k event and the 4x1500m relay. He finished 3rd in the 10k behind the Italian duo. Wellbrock also placed 5th in the 1500m freestyle pool race.
  • Domenico Acerenza, Italy. The other half of the Italian open water duo, Acerenza have established themselves on the international open water stage. He won silver at the 10k Worlds behind Paltrinieri as well as 4th in the 5k. Like his teammate, he was a consistent fixture in Italy’s 4x1500m relay both at the FINA Marathon Swimming Series and at Worlds. Acerenza also claimed an individual victory at the third stop of the FINA World Series in Canada and the 10k event at the European Aquatic Championships.


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