Italian swimming star Pellegrini books place at fifth Olympics

Rome (AFP) –


Italian swimming star Federica Pellegrini booked her spot at a fifth Olympics on Friday by attaining the 200m freestyle qualifying standard.

The world record holder and 2008 Olympic champion at the distance eased to victory in 1min 56.69sec, inside the required time of 1min 56.90.

"It's not been an easy few months, but now I can breathe easier," said a tearful 32-year-old who tested positive for Covid-19 in October.

At this summer's Tokyo Olympics, the six-time world champion over 200m and 400m can become the first swimmer to take part in five Olympic finals over the same distance.

She won silver in 2004, gold in 2008, was fifth in London in 2012 and sixth at Rio in 2016.