After finishing fifth in both Sunday's 400-metre freestyle and Tuesday's 200-metre freestyle, Pellegrini will race in the heats for the 4x200m freestyle this morning in her last chance at medaling in the 2012 Olympics.
Swimming world champion Federica Pellegrini recorded the fastest time in the heats for the 200-metre freestyle on Monday but ultimately finished fifth again in the finals yesterday when American Allison Schmitt set a new Olympic record and took the gold with a 1:56.31 time.
Pellegrini was the reigning world champion in both the 200- and 400-metre freestyle before this year's Olympic games, though she failed to qualify for the finals in this year's European Aquatic Championships. She aimed to be the first in history to win two consecutive Olympics golds in the 200-metre freestyle.
When she took the silver medal in the 200-metre freestyle at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Pellegrini became the youngest Italian athlete to win an individual medal. Her gold medal, also in the 200m, in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics increased the pressure on the young athlete to an unbearable level.
In November 2008, Pellegrini began suffering panic attacks in the water before or during her races, which rendered her unable to breathe and caused her to surface blue in the face from suffocation.
Pellegrini has announced that following the Olympics, she will take a year off from competition. To change her routine, she will focus on short distances, such as the 50- and 100-metres and primarily swim backstroke. The 200- and 400-metre freestyle world record holder hopes to return to competition recharged and ready to head to Rio in 2016.