PHOENIX, Arizona, April 25. CESAR Cielo is back on track after knee surgery last fall, becoming the second-fastest man in the 50 free so far this year with a 21.57 in the final of the event at the Maria Lenk Trophy meet in Rio de Janeiro yesterday. Cielo led a trio of swimmers under the 22-second mark, including Auburn swimmer Marcelo Chierighini, who got under the barrier for the first time with a 21.88 that puts him on the world championship roster. Bruno Fratus was also under 22 with a 21.92. Brazil will also take two females to the world championships in the 50 free, with Graciele Herman and Alessandra Marchioro both getting under the automatic cut. Herman's 25.10 was fast enough to make her 10th in the world.
Thiago Pereira had no trouble winning the 400 IM, getting in the global top 10 with a 4:15.87. Pereira scratched this event at the 2011 world championships, but after winning the silver medal in the 400 IM at the Olympics, it's likely he will be looking for a world championship medal as well.
Martin Naidich of Argentina set his second South American record of the meet today, posting a 7:57.60 in the first heat of the men's 800 freestyle timed final event. Naidich took a second off the former record held by Brazilian Luiz Arapiraca.
Could we see a sub-1:00 time in the men's 100 breast final today in Brazil? Felipe Lima posted a 1:00.42 in prelims today, just ahead of Joao Gomes. Felipe Silva, the reigning world champion in the 50 breaststroke, was expected to contend in the final, but finished ninth in prelims and will be relegated to the B final today.
Germany began their world championship trials today, and Paul Biedermann is skipping the meet, citing a long recovery from the flu that caused erratic training in the past couple of months. Biedermann won two medals in the 200 and 400 freestyles at the 2011 world championships and has the world record in both events. Yannick Lebherz provided some fireworks on the first day, smashing his own national record of 4:14.02 in the 400 IM with a 4:12.47. It's three seconds faster than he swam at the Olympics last year to place 11th.
Andrew Meegan set a national record as well, starting off the Irish nationals in Dublin with a 15:38.14 in the 1500 freestyle, breaking his own record by eight seconds. Katinka Hosszu is also at the meet, swimming as many events as she can. Today, she raced the 200 free and 200 fly finals, as well as the 100 back semifinals.
We'll have complete recaps from all these meets on swimmingworld.com.
In just a matter of hours, the Australian world championship trials kicks off in Adelaide. All of the country's top stars will be there, including Alicia Coutts, the winner of five Olympic medals last year. Coutts is taking on a tough double today and tomorrow, swimming the 100 fly and 200 IM prelims and semifinals today, then the finals of both events tomorrow. Coutts is registered for seven events this week, including the 50s of all the strokes. On the men's side, we'll see what kind of statement James Magnussen will put up on his path to a possible defense of his 100 free world championship title, and if World Cup king Kenneth To can race with the best of them in the long course pool.