A competitive spirit, love of the sport, but above all friendship and a desire to be together. These are the ingredients of the Upper Tiber Valley Polisport swimmers’ group : a close-knit team that brings together people of all ages, from 20 to nearly 80 years old.
by Marco Montedori – ph: Enrico Pauselli
It’s a diverse partnership that boasts a history of over 30 years, explains one of the leaders, Valentino Cerrotti. Its origins date back to the early eighties, when the tradition of swimming in Città di Castello began, and through various associations, (such as ‘Friends of swimming’, CNAT master and Tiferno swimming), has found its present structure within Polisport.
How do you reconcile such different ages in the same group?
«The spirit that distinguishes us is above all that of spending time together – says Cerrotti – and throughout the year we always organize a series of ‘games’, ranging from ‘bike rides’ along the river to trips to sports meetings. They’re all social occasions and we get great participation, including from people’s families».
And the training?
«Of course we don’t leave out the competitive aspect, which the younger group especially look to.Those aiming for results work out at least three times a week, trying to combine training with work and family commitments. Sometimes it can become quite complicated but dedication overcomes everything».
Over time there has been no shortage of sporting results. Just to name a few in the Polisport swimmers’ files, there are athletes who have achieved national records – like Daniele Fontanelli, while Cerrotti himself took part in the World Championships in Riccione in 2012. This year has also been very satisfying in that Francesco Serafini and Vilijam Blazevic, Tifernate* standard bearers, have qualified for the European Masters Championships in London, (May 25th to 29th). «A result that came about through sacrifices made together with our team,» proudly commented the two swimmers taking part in the Master’s along with 9000 others and including the great athletes of the Continental swimming world. One of the group’s feathers in its cap, is definitely the organization of the Italo Galluzzi Meeting in Città di Castello, (now in its thirty-first year), which is held on the first weekend of June and which every year involves hundreds of athletes from all over Italy – more than 400 squads in the competition – making it a promotional and tourist attraction for the Upper Tiber Valley. The Galluzzi makes up, along with another meet for young people between ten and eighteen years, Tifernum Tiberinum, an historic week of tifernate swimming. A population of over 1,500 athletes and as many supporting technicians and attendants, who invade Città di Castello every year.
*Tifernate refers to a person from the Upper Tiber Valley