By Steven V. Selthoffer
BRAZILIAN Olympian Romulo Arantes Jr. was killed in a tragic plane accident, it was reported on June 11, 2000. The official announcement was made prior to the start of the final relay, on the third day of the Brazilian Olympic Trials, at the Trofeu Jose Finkel in Rio de Janerio, Brazil.
Dr. James E. Counsilman, former Indiana University head coach, and 1964 and 1976 U.S. Olympic Men's Swimming Coach, befriended the young swimmer at the age of 14, in Munich, Germany. It was the beginning of Arantes' first of three Olympic Games (72, 76, and 80) appearances. Counsilman once described Arantes as "one of the most naturally gifted swimmers since Mark (Spitz)."
His friends and former teammates remember Romulo, not just for his world class swimming performances but also for a keen sense of humor and gregarious personal antics that endeared him to teammates, coaches and friends from around the world. Arantes was 42.