DubaiBlog owner, Nico de Corato, is often following sports events as media or media partner and has had the chance to meet extraordinary sport professionals. During the FINA/HOSA 10 km Marathon Swim in Abu Dhabi (World Cup 2016), for example, he met Simone Ruffini, an Italian long-distance swimmer specialized in the 5K chrono and mass start.
Simone has been in the Italian national team since 2007 when he participated to the European Junior Swimming Championship in Milan. He went on to win the bronze in the 3K team competition of the European Junior Championship in Sète the year after with Adriano Bei and Rachele Bruni. In 2009 he was part of the team that represented Italy at the World Championship in Rome and was 9th in the 5K.
In 2010, he won the Italian championship in pool and in open water and was 3rd in the 5K and 2nd in the team 5K with Simone Ercoli and Rachele Bruni at the European Swimming Championship in Budapest. He was 10th at the Roberval World Championship.
In July 2011, he participated to the Shanghai World Championship and was 9th; however, the highlight of that year was his 10K gold metal in China at the Shenzhen Universiade 10K with over 2 minutes on the silver medalist. In the 2015 World Championship in Kazan he won, once again, the gold medal in the 25K open water competition.
A few months later, Nico had a chance to meet Simone for a pleasant chat that transformed easily into a brief interview.
Nico de Corato: Simone, first of all congratulations for your career. As an amateur marathoner, I can understand those who push to run 42K, 50K, or even more extreme distances. But what pushes you to swim 5, 10, even 25K? I still remember my first aquathlon [swim+run] competition; after just 400 mt. I remember thinking…”never again!”
Simone Ruffini: I began long-distance swimming with my first trainer, Massimo Russo as an attempt to swim longer than the 1500mt. I soon moved on to racing in lakes and open sea in addition to pool swimming.
Nico de Corato: Which race you remember with greater satisfaction?
Simone Ruffini: The 10K of Kazan that granted me the Olympic pass. That competition represented a great achievement and allowed me to dream of Rio.
Nico de Corato: Have you been able to visit the Arab Emirates in addition to the competition site?
Simone Ruffini: Unfortunately, no. As is the case for any competition, everything goes fast after the arrival: training, technical meetings, and various organizations. You don’t have time to visit the city you are in. My trip to the United Emirates was no different. I am very sorry about that, though, because this sport allows us to travel around the world, and it would be beautiful to meet different people, lifestyles and religions. In the end, instead, you normally don’t see anything but the pool or the water where you will race.
Nico de Corato: What would be your advice for those who are interested in long-distance swimming?
Simone Ruffini: I would just advise to try it, even if it might be an intimidating sport in the beginning. Try it and enjoy the feeling of freedom that pools cannot give you; wouldn’t you rather spend the racing weekend in the sea than in the pool?