SAO PAULO, Brazil, April 22. TODAY’S competition at the Maria Lenk Trophy meet, the main meet for selecting Brazilian swimmers to the Pan Pacific championship team, was overshadowed by two foreigners who posted speedy times in the women’s 100 butterfly.
Jeanette Ottesen Gray, one of the top elite swimmers in the world yet to own a European gold medal, posted a 57.22 to beat Holland’s Inge Dekker by just four tenths of a second. Gray’s 57.22 puts her second in the world behind Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom and her 56.53. The 57.60 by Dekker is fourth in the world, with the 57.27 by Canada’s Katerine Savard sandwiched between them. Ottesen typically takes her races out extremely fast and tries to hold on for a medal, but tonight, she was fourth at the turn with a 27.31. Dekker led at the 50 with a 26.62, but a blazing 29.91 gave Ottesen the win and the meet record, taking down Gabriella Silva’s mark of 58.25.
Daynara Paula was the top Brazilian swimmer in the race, placing third with a 58.49. She’ll get the opportunity to swim the event at the Pan Pacific championships after beating the qualifying standard of 58.89.
Thiago Simon is quickly becoming a major force in a crowded men’s breaststroke field in Brazil. In the prelims of the 200 breast, he dropped three seconds off his lifetime best with a 2:12.74. He went under 2:12 in finals to win with a 2:11.99. It’s not fast enough for a top-20 world ranking, but it puts him on the Pan Pacific championship roster. Runner-up Henrique Barbosa also dipped under the qualifying time of 2:12.78 with a 2:12.54. Tales Cerdeira and Felipe Silva battled for third place, with Cerdeira getting the bronze in 2:13.28 to Silva’s 2:13.95.
Another Thiago, namely Olympic medalist Thiago Pereira, won the 100 fly in a speedy 52.37 to qualify for his first Pan Pacific championship event. Pereira will be looking to improve on his bronze medals in the individual medley events from the 2010 Pan Pacs, and this meet will be a step toward that goal. Pereira’s time almost cracks the top 10 global standings, putting him 11th behind the 52.33 by Australia’s Jayden Hadler. Marcos Macedo took second with a 52.76, while Arthur Mendes clinched third with a 52.94. Brazil will need to reconsider its qualifying time standard, as all of the top 16 in finals tonight and 20 out of 31 swimmers in prelims beat the cut of 55.57.
In the final event of the night, Miguel Valente scored the win in the men’s 1500 freestyle with a 15:28.87, 14 seconds slower than the qualifying time. Pulling away from Raphael Mattioli at the 800-meter mark in the third of four timed final heats, Valente was able to post the fastest time of the day. In the fourth heat, Juan Pereya tried to keep with Valente’s pace, but could only muster a 15:30.42 for second place. Luiz Arapiraca placed third with a 15:33.40.