I swim. Manuel is back in Loria after Tokyo: what hug from the fans «Pellegrini? The strongest athlete ever, he is a source of inspiration ”
He gives himself silver in the fast relay at the Olympics and three days later you would imagine him on the beach enjoying his well-deserved holidays. But, between the Tokyo swimming pool and the Rosà one, the step can be short. Thus Manuel Frigo, who returned to Castione di Loria on Tuesday evening, was already swimming the next day in the Vicenza swimming pool that saw him grow: «Switching off until September would not do well. I train a few days in Rosà, then from Monday I return to Rome, in view of the Tricolors (from 4 to 8 August, ed). Yes, that will be my last commitment. Then holidays in Calabria ».
At the airport he enjoyed the embrace of friends and family (father Danilo, mother Vanna, sister Debora and brother Fabio), who the following evening took out for a pizza. Bath of affection for the return to the pool: there were also the very young recruits. All simple things, applause and smiles that flow from the heart. The value of the roots, which all our Tokyo medalists are extolling. «The dedication for the medal is to the family», remarks the fresh silver of the 4×100 freestyle, «And, in particular, to his paternal grandfather Antonio: he passed away three years ago. He was one of my first fans, I’m sure he followed me from up there ».
But let’s go back to the relay that took him into a new dimension. Of course, Frigo & Co. had been fourth in the 2019 World Cup. A couple of months ago, they took the bronze at the European Championships … “We knew that, apart from the United States, we could play it”, urges Frigo, who returned with the swimming competitions again in progress, because the anti-Covid regulations in Japan require the return to the country of origin within 48 hours, «But, between saying and doing, the sea is involved. The secret was to live the final lightly. From the series: let’s have fun, go as it goes. We had the best time on the batteries, but tension and anxiety can always play tricks. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case for us. And it is quite impressive to be among the best in the world, second behind the Americans. The role of the last relay runner? More honor than responsibility ».
The parties, the hugs. The story of the company. But has Frigo’s life changed? «No, it’s the same as before», he replies confidently, «Of course I still have to realize everything. And I know that in 2022, between the World Cup and the European Championships, there will be no shortage of commitments: the goal will be to confirm himself in the national team, the competition is fierce ». But it is inevitable to ask him about the performances of the whole Italnuoto. To the splendid surprise Frigo, for example, is counterbalanced by Margherita Panziera’s step backwards: «He declared that he was not well. A shame, because he could have brought home something important. In general, we boys defended ourselves very well: in addition to the relay, I am thinking of Paltrinieri, Burdisso and Martinenghi. But also great Ceccon, fourth on the 100 back ». And on the leave of Pellegrini: «He has done it, not everyone has participated in five Olympic finals. The strongest of all time, not only in swimming. A source of inspiration for me too ». Curtain with a curiosity about the mustache cut for the final: “So I gave a different image for the podium … But they will be back soon”. Watch out, girls: he doesn’t have a girlfriend. –