We are face to face with Mariangela Perrupato, Olympic championess of synchronised swimming, who represented our region at the latest Olympic games in London. Born in Castrovillari (in the province of Cosenza) in 1988, the first noteworthy competition she participated in was the 2004 European Championship in Osweicim, Poland, where she won the team silver medal. Two years later, she was called up to be a member of the national team for the 2006 European Championship in Budapest. At the 2008 Eindhoven European Championship in the Netherlands, she enriched her prize record with two more silver medals, one for relay and one for mixed swimming. Later on, she took part in two World Championships, one in Rome in 2009, the other in Shanghai in 2011. In 2012, she went to London together with her colleague Giulia Lapi from Genoa, winning the finals of her specialty and earning herself a seventh place in the overall placings: an excellent result, which allowed her to look to the future with more confidence. Finally, a bronze medal at the 2014 European Championship in Berlin.
How did you first became keen on swimming?
I was six years old when I started swimming at the Sturla Sports Association in Genoa. Two years later, I decided to move on to synchronised swimming and, with the help of a good friend, I launched into this great passion.
What were the most significant moments of your remarkable career?
Passing from the Junior Nationals to the Absolute Championships. I was only 16, my family lived in Genoa, and I had to move to Rome. From a human scale city to a metropolis, we might say. It wasn’t easy, but I made it in the end. The non-qualification for the 2008 Peking Olympics was another valuable lesson as well as a huge disappointment. Four years later however, I finally managed to reach the goal I had set myself as a kid, namely participating in the Olympic Games.
What about your strongest emotion?
The Olympic Games in London. From the moment I arrived there, I just couldn’t believe I had made it. Finding myself within walking distance from all those champions was overwhelming. The moments before the competition are something I’ll never forget. A swimming pool completely filled with people: quite an unusual sight in my discipline. What’s more, my dear ones where all there. My family, my boyfriend… If I was there, it was their merit too.
What would you suggest to the young people who want to set about practicing your discipline?
Synchronized swimming is a very hard, demanding, fatiguing sport. At the same time, it is magical. Every time I take part in a competition, I can’t help but convince myself of its uniqueness. Despite very few days of rest and a great deal of training, It has incomparable emotions to offer to those who practice it. To those asking me if it was worth the effort, I would unfailingly answer: yes. I would do it all over again. My suggestion to those who want to dedicate themselves to it is: be constant and strong-willed when it comes to training. Effort is always rewarding.
Let’s talk about your roots. What is your relationship with Calabria?
I was born in Calabria, in Castrovillari. I lived in Saracena, my grandparents’ and my father’s town, until I became five. I go and visit my parents any time I get the chance to. Calabria is – and will always be – in my heart.
Do you have plans for the future?
My greatest dream is to qualify with the team for the 2016 Rio Olympics.