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SWIMMING

European record for Italy swim champ

Italian teenager Gregorio Paltrinieri smashed the European 1500m freestyle record at the European Championships in Berlin on Wednesday.

European record for Italy swim champ
Gregorio Paltrinieri wants to beat the world champion at the 2016 Olympics. Photo: John MacDougall/AFP

Paltrinieri was in a realm of his own as he touched in 14 minutes 39.93 seconds to slice almost three seconds off Yuri Prilukov's 2008 mark.   

Paltirinieri got the session off to a flying start. The 19-year-old's only challenger was the clock and his time cut 3.28secs from Prilukov's record, set in the time of performance-enhancing suits.

Pal Joensen of the Faroe Islands was second, 10.66secs adrift with Paltrinieri's fellow Italian Gabriele Detti in third.

Paltrinieri said swimming for so long on his own had been a challenge.

"I am very happy to have won this race. It was difficult to swim alone but I decided before to avoid some competitions to put my full concentration on this.

"I expected and hoped to get the record since I was very young. The time is a good time."

He is the first European to have dipped under the 14:40-mark and although he is still almost nine seconds off Sun Yang's world record, the Italian does not believe it is out of his reach.

"It feels very close to Sun Yang: I have to reach 14:31.This race was preparation on the road to Rio where I want to beat him."

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HEALTH

Wellbeing is up in Italy despite economic troubles, study finds

Italians are feeling better overall despite struggles with job insecurity and poor work-life balance, according to new figures.

Wellbeing is up in Italy despite economic troubles, study finds
Biking around Italy's Lake Garda. Photo: Depositphotos

Italians are famed for having a supposedly relaxed and healthy lifestyle. And new figures released by national statistics bureau Istat on Thursday show that Italians' wellbeing is actually on the increase.

READ ALSO: La dolce vita? The Italian towns with the best (and worst) quality of life

“Over the last year the indicators report an improvement in wellbeing,” the national statistics agency said in its latest annual BES report.

The report aims to look beyond the usual GDP-based economic picture of how Italy is progressing, by considering economic, social and environmental phenomena.

“Over 50 percent of the 110 comparable indicators have registered an improvement,” ISTAT said.

Fruit for sale at a market in Rome. Photo: AFP

Two in five Italians reported “high levels of satisfaction” with their lives, and overall subjective perceptions of wellbeing had increased by 1.8 percent overall since last year, Istat found.

Italians are also feeling more positive, the study found, with the number of people describing themselves as “optimistic” increasing by 1.8 percent and the number of self.confessed pessimists dropping by two percent.

Istat said the biggest increases in wellbeing were registered in parts of northern Italy, while the lowest scores were found in the centre-south.

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In the south, reported levels of satisfaction with life were on average around 12 percent lower compared to the North.

The study noted that the wellbeing index was pushed down by economic factors in many areas, particularly by unemployment, job insecurity, and issues with work-life balance.

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