Dolphins beat Italian swimming champ in race-off

Associated Press
Italian two-time world champion in the 100-meter freestyle Filippo Magnini plays with a dolphin during a performance at Zoomarine's aquatic amusement park in Torvaianica, near Rome, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011. The captain of the Italian national swimming team lost Thursday against King, 19, and Leah, 9, at an event in Torvaianica. The dolphins had to swim about twice as many lengths as Magnini, but even so, they overtook him. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)
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TORVAIANICA, Italy (AP) — Italian swimmer Filippo Magnini once ruled the pool in the 100 meter freestyle, but on Thursday he met his match dolphin-style.

The captain of the national swimming team raced a pair of dolphins — King, 19 years old, and Leah, nine-years old — at a specially arranged event in a swimming pool in Torvaianica, about 30 miles (50km) south of Rome.

The dolphins had to swim about twice as many lengths as Magnini, but they overtook him to win in the last few yards (meters).

"I never had such tough opponents," joked the two-time world champion. But he said he "fell a bit in love with dolphin Leah" and hoped to see her again.

Magnini — nicknamed Superpippo — won gold in the 100 meter freestyle at the 2005 world swimming championships in Montreal and at the 2007 event in Melbourne.

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