Francesco Ippolito is looking at making Chengdu 2025 his own

Francesco Ippolito is looking at making Chengdu 2025 his own

March celebrates Lifesaving great Francesco Ippolito from Italy as 2024’s third The World Games Athlete of the Month.

27-year-old Ippolito is not only The World Games 2022 gold medallist in the 200m Super Lifesaver; the swimming ace also currently leads the Life Saving Sport (ILS) Ranking, giving him great chances to qualify for The World Games in Chengdu, taking place from 7-17 August 2025.

“The qualification for TWG in Chengdu (CHN) will end in January 2025. Until then, I have to work hard and I have to keep the highest level of concentration,” Ippolito explains.

After studying languages (German, English and Spanish) at secondary school, Ippolito chose to dedicate his life to swimming and started working as a coach. Coming back to the beginning of his journey, Ippolito tells us:

“Even though I started swimming at 3 years old, it was only at 12 years old that I was first introduced to Life Saving, but at that time I chose to be a traditional swimmer. It was in 2013 that I restarted practicing Life Saving, always connected to my love for swimming. And the next year, at 18 years old, I took part in the Rescue 2014 France - Lifesaving World Championships.”

From that moment on, Ippolito was hooked and determine to mark Life Saving’s history.

“Silvia, my coach’s mother, introduced me to Life Saving when I was younger. Martina, my actual coach, supports me every single day, since 2013, to push always harder.”

“Every year I set myself new objectives, and this year I want to improve the way I carry the manikin. In February this year I broke my National Record in the 50m Manikin Carry, evidence that my team and I are on the right path,” he says.

With one gold and five silver medals, the swimmer from Gorizia, North-east Italy, was one of the most successful athletes at The World Games 2022 and is expected to make a big splash next summer.

Once I returned home from Birmingham in 2022, I immediately started dreaming of a second participation in TWG. It has become my top objective. It would be fantastic to cheer again after winning a medal.”

“The Opening Ceremony, and singing the Italian anthem after winning the 200m Super Lifesaver, were for sure the best moments of my journey in Birmingham in 2022,” he reflects.

“Before the start, I was definitely very anxious about my race. During the first 150m I was too focused on every part of the race. Once I closed the tow around the manikin, in the last 50 metres I turned my head around in order to see if someone was near me. At that moment I realised that in a few seconds I would become The World Games champion.”

Ippolito shook the Lifesaving community in May last year when he broke the 200m Super Lifesaver (Men) World Record, defeating previous record holder Federico Gilardi (ITA). Ippolito clocked a time of 2'02"98, stealing the crown Gilardi had held since April 2017 when he swum the distance in 2'04"33.

“I joined the national team in 2014. From that point, I always had Federico, first as a team-mate and then as a captain,” Ippolito says.

“We competed against each other to achieve our goals and I can say we had a fantastic journey together. He was the World Record holder in 200m Super Lifesaver until 2023, so he really was the benchmark for me in this discipline.”

“I have studied him a lot, and I have trained harder and harder on every single metre of this race. And I finally I did it!”

Despite clinching this record, Ippolito admits that: “Michael Phelps (USA) remains an absolute model for me in swimming. Every time he dived into the water he created a masterpiece, not just a competition. I was highly inspired by his technique, his way of swimming and also by his attitude before and after a competition.”

Like most elite athletes, Ippolito has had to face many obstacles in his career, but his mental strength has proven to be stronger.

“Sickness has unfortunately negatively impacted two sport seasons for me, from the end of 2015 until the end of 2017. However I have never stopped dreaming, and after this test I came out stronger and more motivated than ever.”

“Nevertheless, I feel like nothing is a sacrifice if it helps you being successful. I train every morning from 8 to 12 in the pool and in the gym, and in the evening I always work at the pool. So I spend a total of 12 hours at the pool every day. But this time doesn’t feel like a sacrifice to me because every day I work on myself, on body and mind.”

“I am lucky enough to do my dream job, teaching swimming and lifesaving to children and adults, and I have a fantastic time with people.”

Asked about his plans for 2024, Ippolito confirms his busy schedule.

“On 12 April I will compete in Dusseldorf at the German Championship, an important stage to qualify for The World Games 2025. At the end of May, I will compete at the Italian Open Championship. This event is crucial to qualify for the World Championships in Gold Coast, Queensland (AUS), which is scheduled in late August.”

The Athlete of the Month Award is presented by the International World Games Association (IWGA) to recognise outstanding performances and significant contributions from TWG athletes.

Archery’s Mike Schlosser (NED) and Billiards’ Carlo Biado (PHI) were named January and February’s Athletes of the Month respectively.

The International World Games Association (IWGA) is a non-profit-making international sports organisation recognised and supported by the International Olympic Committee. The IWGA comprises 38 International Member Sports Federations. It administers and promotes The World Games (TWG), a multi-sport event held every four years that features around 35 sports on its programme. The next edition of TWG will be in Chengdu (CHN) from 7-17 August 2025. 5,000 participants from more than 100 countries are expected to take part in this 12th edition. The latest Games were hosted by Birmingham, Alabama (USA).


For more information, please contact the IWGA Media and Communication team: [email protected], Tel: +41 21 311 12 97, or visit our website.