In front of a passionate Rome crowd, Italy’s Federica Pellegrini became the first woman to break the four minute barrier in the 400 metres freestyle as she swam to the gold medal in the 2009 World Championships. 
Her time of 3mins 59.15secs turned her into the biggest star of the championships and on to the front cover of the Italian edition of Vanity Fair magazine where she appeared painted head to toe in gold paint. She also won the 200 metres freestyle gold medal in a world record time.  She is the only Italian swimmer to have set world records in more than one event.

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