RIO DE JANEIRO, April 26. TWO of Brazil's biggest swimming superstars found themselves in a rare spot in finals tonight at the Maria Lenk Trophy meet, standing on the second-place spot on the podium in primary events.
Henrique Rodrigues got the better of Olympic finalist Thiago Pereira in the men's 200 IM final, with Rodrigues winning with a 1:57.37 to Pereira's 1:57.48. Both swims qualify for the world championships and put them both in the top five in the world. Rodrigues sits second in the world behind Kosuke Hagino's 1:55.74, while Pereira is third, just ahead of China's Wang Shun (1:57.50). For Rodrigues, who was 13th in the event in the Olympics, it's a two-second drop from his lifetime best, while Pereira was short of his national record of 1:55.55. Third place in the race went to Thiago Simon with a 2:01.88.
In the men's 50 fly, reigning world champion Cesar Cielo was bested in Rio by Nicholas dos Santos, who picked up the win with a 23.05 to Cielo's 23.16. Dos Santos fell just short of knocking Fred Bousquet's 23.00 off the top of the world rankings, but should be pleased with being second in the world in the non-Olympic event. Cielo will defend his world title in Barcelona and stands fifth in the world, with Roland Schoeman (23.11) and Florent Manaudou (23.14) ahead of him.
Johanna Maranhao qualified for worlds in the women's 200 IM with a 2:14.29, just beating the FINA standard of 2:14.97. Well back in second was Samantha Salinas with a 2:18.54 and Julia Volkmann was third with a 2:20.19.
Inge Dekker of the Netherlands fell short of her best time of the year in the women's 50 fly, winning with a 25.99. She currently sits second in the world with a 25.93 behind Ranomi Kromowidjojo's 25.80. Daynara Paula got under the FINA automatic qualifying standard of 26.83 with a runner-up time of 26.34, while Bruna Rocha also got under the cut with a 26.58 for third place.
Carolina Bilich got the win in the women's 400 freestyle with a 4:14.99, ahead of Ana da Cunha's 4:15.60 and Dutchwoman Femke Heemskerk, who swam a 4:16.48. In the men's 400 free, Argentina's Juan Pereyra took the win with a 3:54.10. Marcos de Oliveira was the top Brazilian in the meet, placing second with a 3:54.26. Luiz Melo took third with a 3:55.74.
The Minas team that included Dutch sprinters Dekker and Heemskerk, as well as Brazilians Roberta Albino and Lorrane Ferreira broke the meet record in the women's 400 free relay with a 3:44.24. SESI was second with a 3:45.02 and Pinheiros took third with a 3:46.16.
Pinheiros took the men's 400 free relay title with a 3:17.52, ahead of Minas' 3:20.20 and GNU's 3:22.48.