In 1963, three years after the Olympic Games in Rome and immediately after the European Championships in Leipzig, Italian swimming, was preparing for the Games of the XVIII Olympiade in Tokyo.
In that distant 1963, the sporting foresight of Mario Saini, then secretary general of CONI and executive of the FIN, led him to organize a prestigious meet for the Italian swimming movement. This man, a Piedmontese by birth but Roman by adoption, conceived and dedicated to Rome, a city he loved so much, a trophy reserved for male swimming: the "Sette Colli".
At that time there were seven individual Olympic events, just like the seven hills of Rome to which the meet events were connected. At 100/400/1500 freestyle the Palatino, the Campidoglio and the Quirinale; to the 100 backstroke the Celio; to the 200 breastroke the Viminale; to the 200 butterfly the Esquilino and the 400 mixed the Aventino.
That was the first major contest at an intercontinental level for Italian swimmers outside of official events such as the Olympics and European Championships.
In 1969 the trophy left Rome for Sicily for the first time. Meanwhile, the Olympic calendar competitions had increased (200 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, 100 butterfly and 200 medley) and so did the Settecolli trophies.
The five Greek districts of Siracusa were combined with the new events: Achradina for freestyle, Ortigia for the backstroke, Epipoli for the breastroke, Neapolis for the butterfly and Tyche for the individual medley.
The Italian swimming summer season opens annually in June, in the beautiful swimming pool of the Stadio del Nuoto, built by the architect Vitellozzi for the Rome Olympics on the slopes of Monte Mario. This facility shines like a precious gem in a breathtaking scenery without equal in the world. The meet is now dedicated to the memory of its creator Mario Saini.
For me, who competed in that Trophy from 1992 to 2006, also being lucky enough to get on the podium a couple of times, the memories are indelible and wonderful. The colors and scents of Rome at the beginning of summer are inextricably linked to the challenges between the lanes of the Stadio del Nuoto. Also in this crazy 2020 you can see the results of the 57th Settecolli Trophy