Novella Calligaris at the 1972 Olympics
27 December 1954|
|Height||1.63 m (5 ft 4 in)|
|Weight||48 kg (106 lb)|
|Strokes||Freestyle and medley|
Aged 13 Calligaris competed at the 1968 Olympics in the 200 m, 400 m and 800 m freestyle, but was eliminated in the heats of all events. At 14, she set her first European record. At the 1972 Summer Olympics, she won a medal in every event she competed: a silver medal in the 400 m freestyle, a bronze in the 800 m freestyle, and another bronze in the 400 m individual medley.
The following year, the first FINA World Championships took place in Belgrade. On 9 September 1973, Novella swam 8:52.97 in the 800 m freestyle event, setting a new world record and winning a gold medal. In the same competition she also finished third in the 400 m freestyle and 400 m individual medley.
At the 1974 European Championships, she won two medals, one silver and one bronze. These were the last international achievements of her career, which ended shortly afterward. In retirement she coached swimming, and in the 1980s worked with the junior national team in Rome.
During her career Calligaris won 76 national titles and set 82 national and 21 European records. Until Federica Pellegrini's second place in 200 m freestyle at the 2004 Athens Olympics, she was the only Italian woman to win an Olympic medal in swimming. In 1986 she was inducted to the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
- Italian sportswomen multiple medalists at Olympics and World Championships
- Italy national swimming team – Multiple medalists
- World record progression 800 metres freestyle
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