SANTOS, Brazil, September 19. BRAZIL created a triple-header of exciting swimming by combining the 32nd coming of its renowned Trofeu Jose Finkel meet, with function as the Brazilian Winter Swimming Championships and its final selection meet for the Indianapolis World Short Course Championships this October.
While great stars from around the world such as De Bruijn, Klochkova and Silantiev have enjoyed the meet in past years, the timing of the meet – so close before Indianapolis – limited the addresses of the field but not their quality as numerous Brazilian and South American records fell from the beginning, including the prelims of the first day. There was great motivation for fast swimming as in several events swimmers could surpass the national and continental records and still fall short of the objective of qualifying to go to the Short Course Worlds.
Flavia Delaroli set both Brazilian and South American records at 24.81 in the women’s 50 freestyle prelims, which she was not able to repeat in winning the final at 25.11. It is interesting that Delaroli just touched out Flavia Neto de Jesus (:25.21), but the second spot on the Brazilian squad (two per country) for Indianapolis went to Rebeca Gusmao.
Other than being named to the team, Gusmao had a day to forget. She not only lost her record to Delaroli but also was disqualified from the event due to a false start. She made the team on the basis of having a faster time than the de Jesus mark in another qualifying meet.
Joanna Maranhao had the joy of breaking the Brazilian and South American records with her clocking 800 freestyle of 8:32.17, but it wasn’t enough to swim that event at Worlds. She won the race by about nine seconds, and missing the head to head competition she fell a second short of the qualifying requirement.
Nicholas dos Santos broke no records but did go under the qualifying standard for Worlds in the 50 freestyle by .03 seconds, winning at :21.93.
Four South American records were surpassed on the second day. Once again, the prelims were hot! Fabiola Molina, better known as a backstroker, took in BRA and SA records in the 100 butterfly preliminary at 1:00.23, to break a longstanding mark set by Gabrielle Rose, who was an Olympian for Brazil before taking the steps required to represent the United States, for whom she was also an Olympian. Unfortunately, the World cut was 1:00.17.
Molina was back later in the session in her main stroke at the 50 distance and this time the World qualifying time would fall to her, but she was likely not as happy with her placement. Youngster Talita Ribeiro touched out Molina by .02, 28.44 to 28.46, personal bests for both women with Ribeiro taking Molina's Brazilian and South American records.
Two Olympic finalists battled in possibly the best race of the finals session, the women's 400 IM. Argentina’s Georgina Bardach, Athens bronze winner, fought with Brazil’s Olympic finalist Joanna Maranhao throughout. Bardach is strong on the front half, with Maranhao grinding away at Bardach’s lead on the back portion of the struggle. This tremendous battle ended with less than half a second separation and the leader securing the South American record while the silver winner set a new national mark. Result: Bardach 4:35.56; Maranhao 4:35.96.
The men were great in this event as well. Thiago Pereira set both SA and BRA records at 4:09.10, while Lucas Salatta also met the Indianapolis standard at 4:11.90.
Two more Brazilians set travel plans for the World Championships in the men’s 100 butterfly with Kaio Almeida setting a new Brazilian record at 52.36, just .10 off the continental record. Marco Sapucaia also met the standard at 52.76.
No other standards were reached on the evening but another meet record fell to Paula Ribeiro at 1:59.32 in the women’s 200 freestyle.
The swimming just kept getting better on Day Three as six continental records fell, all to Brazilians. Fewer than six individual South American records fell this evening to Brazil's emerging squad.
Flavia Delaroli broke her second South American record of the meet, with the record again being produced in the preliminaries at 27.50. Again, she was not able to duplicate her morning swim in the evening, and this time it cost her a championship. Laura Azevedo won at night in 27.78, with Flavia Neto de Jesus also moving past Delaroli in to second in 27.85. The new record-holder swam 28.08 at night, good only for third. None of the times, including the record, were good enough to meet the standard for Worlds.
On the men’s side, though, five swimmers surpassed the Worlds cut. Kaio Almeida picked up his second gold medal and Brazilian record of the meet, with the 50 also being a South American mark (23.33). Almeida may be a player in this event in Indianapolis as he swim was close to a second under the qualifying standard, which is pretty exclusive territory in a 50 distance.
Joanna Maranhao won the women’s 200 backstroke at 2:12.47, a new BRA and SA record but well off the Indy cut.
Rebeca Gusmao lost her BRA and SA records in the 50 freestyle, and to add insult to injury, was disqualified in her efforts to win the race. As happens often with champions, she apparently used that experience as motivation to excel in another event. She won the 100 Individual Medley in 1:02.53, after setting new BRA and SA records in the morning swim at 1:02.09. Breaking continental records in the IM, with Bardach and Maranhao presently active, is a fine accomplishment for Gusmao.
On the men’s side BRA and SA records fell again to Thiago Pereira, who won the 100 IM at 53.72.
The men's 400 freestyle was an odd affair. In the preliminaries, Armando Negreiros nearly surpassed the oldest SA and BRA records with his 3:46.2, a time under the Indy standard. Unfortunately, however, he did not perform nearly as well in the evening, finishing sixth as Juan Pereyra was the winner at only a 3:50.61. Though he made the meet standard, it appears Negreiros may not make the team due to his poor evening performance. We will look forward to reviewing the Brazilian entry list at Conseco Arena for how this question was resolved.
Relays were full of excitement with records falling in both men and women at the 4 x 50 distance, but clearly the most impressive aspect of the relays was the leadoff swims on each, both of which produced all time top Brazilian and South American swims.
Flavia Delaroli proved her 24.81 from the prelim of the 50 was no fluke, despite the fact she could not hold on to win the individual event in finals. She led off her relay in finals and shattered her own record from three days earlier, dropping the standard from 24.81 to 24.68.
The men’s event was both better and a bit disheartening. Nicholas dos Santos swam a new Brazilian mark of 21.32, only .22 off Fred Bousquet’s world mark for France, done this spring in winning the event at the NCAA championships for Auburn. It is disheartening only as it will not be recognized as a continental mark because the record attempt was not made clear to the officials prior to the race, but he has marked himself as a player in Indianapolis.
Things finally cooled a bit as only one continental standard fell this day, the women's 200 butterfly to Argentina's Georgina Bardach. The Olympic 400 IM bronze medalist swam to a World Championship qualifying time of 2:10.73 to win by more than four seconds.
The men were also strong in the 200 butterfly as shown by Lucas Salatta, already on the team in a few events, who swam 1:56.87, nearly a second and a half faster than the required time. Gustavo Calado had 1:57.21, fast enough to meet the Indy standard but just equal to 50-100 winner Kaio Almeida’s swim in an earlier qualifying meet. We will again peruse the Indy psych sheets to see which athlete was awarded the second Brazilian swim in the event.
The meet closed with two more continental records, bring the five day total to 19.
Thiago Pereira scored his third IM win, taking the 200 distance at 1:57.63 for a new BRA and SA.
Georgina Bardach picked up her third win in another knock-down, drag out win over host country star Joanna Mananhao. Close all the way through, the naked eye could not separate the two at the finish. The touch pads separated them by .04, with Bardach at 2:13.10 and Maranhao at 2:13.14. As fine as these athletes are, Gabrielle Rose still held on to her continental record of 2:12.64, at least until the stars swim again in the pressure cooker of the World Championships.
Both women and men produce triple winners in the breaststroke in Mariana Katsuno and Henrique Barbosa. Katsuno set BRA and SA in the 100 with a 1:09.39 prelim swim, winning the final at 1:10.72. Barbosa completed his triple at 1:00.01, which was not a national record but happily was an Indy standard.
In summary, the Brazilian squad, even with some of its top performers taking a post-Athens break, showed great depth and that it may be close to a breakthrough to the next level on a team wide basis.
The following are links on SwimInfo to the finals results by day, in Portuguese.