Giacomo Perini came into the limelight of world rowing on 19 June, winning the second stage of the World Cup in the single Pr1. The gauntlet he threw down to Australian former Olympic challenge Eric Horrie was impressive but even more so was the fact that he became the first adaptive single sculler to break the nine -minutes barrier. All of this, of course, in a Filippi shell.
8.55.21 is the new world record over 2000 meters that bested the 9.12 previously held by the Ukrainian Roman Polianskyi, the reigning Olympic champion. Giacomo Perini - 25 years old and a philosophy student – smashed the glass ceiling in a manner that was almost unthinkable five years ago, when he first began rowing at the Rumon Rowing Club in Rome.
A relapse of the disease (an osteosarcoma) forced him to get back in his boat at the end of 2020 with the Canottieri Aniene in Rome. At the World Championships in Racice, he “only” got the silver medal (behind Polianskyi) after completing his semi-final in nine minutes flat. “In the final, things didn't go as we hoped,” explained Perini. “I could already tell after the first 500 meters my performance was below expectation. I immediately tried to lead the race from the front, but my opponents held out and perhaps I lost control. I would also say that the setup we gave to the boat contributed to the final result.”
The future for Giacomo Perini is bright and dappled with the challenges that come from being highly gifted and highly competitive. His spirit for racing stems from experience in horse riding, a talent that occupied his time before the disease manifested itself. In his mind, 2022 was only surprising for those that do not know him. At the national team camp under the care of Giovanni Santaniello, he came to realise that he was destined for the summit of Paralympic rowing, provided he paired all his natural ability with hard work.
Away from the water, Perini doesn’t relax – he trains twice a day and varies between weights, cycling and swimming. “I need to diversify” he said. “So, I alternate between boat and rowing machine four times a week".
Besides the national coaches in Rome, he is supported by important figures such as Riccardo Dezi, Daniele Stefanoni and Luca Agoletto.
“I am completely focused on Paris 2024 and more in the short term on the Zagreb World Cup in May when we’ll discover who qualifies for the Olympics,” he explained. “With my technicians, we have set up a series of trainings that I would define as vertical and fully customized. You don't win alone; everything must be managed with the utmost attention to detail, from nutrition to physical and technical preparation”.
Perini also acknowledges the strong role Filippi have played in his development (“I have to thank Filippi who have always been there for me”). It should come as no surprise that he asked us for a boat designed just for him – and, of course, we couldn’t say no. Our engineers are already at work. "To meet my needs, I asked to be able to stay higher on the seat, to better support my trunk, during the technical gesture and to raise the floats: it isn’t necessary that they touch water” explained Perini. “I want to move the barycentre of the boat towards the stern in order to better cope with waves at the bow and in general to lighten the trim whilst respecting the weight limits". He’s clear in his ideals and we are here to support him all the way to the finish line. We can't wait to see him at work in the new Filippi and perhaps break more records and collect more silverware in years to come.
Giacomo Perini's palmares: