Larissa Oliveira Breaks 200 Free Brazilian Record To Open Maria Lenk Trophy Meet

Photo Courtesy: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

The Maria Lenk Trophy meet in Rio de Janeiro wasted no time in creating some excitement as the best in Brazil attempt to qualify for the Pan American Games and world championships. The women’s 200 freestyle featured a battle for the national record, with the top two finishers breaking the mark.

Beyond being the first step in qualifying for the major international competitions, the meet takes on a special meaning this year, as it celebrates what would have been Maria Lenk’s 100th birthday. Lenk was the first Brazilian woman to compete at the Olympic Games, swimming at the 1936 Olympics and dying of cardiac arrest in 2007 at 92 years old.

Manuela Lyrio took the lead in the opening race, the women’s 200 free, flipping first at 100 meters ahead of Larissa Oliveira and Jessica De Bruin. Oliveira made a surge in the third 50 meters to pull even with Lyrio heading into the final stretch, while De Bruin fell off the pace. Initially, the scoreboard showed a win by Lyrio with a 1:58.74 and a new national record, but about a minute later, it was Oliveira who took the win and the record with a 1:58.53. Both dipped under Lyrio’s previous Brazilian and South American record of 1:59.52 from the 2013 world championships, and both qualified for this summer’s world championships by beating the FINA “A” standard of 1:58.93 and will also likely swim at the Pan American Games.

An equally exciting race took place in the men’s 200 freestyle final, with former NCAA champions Nicolas Oliveira and Joao De Lucca looking to earn a place at the world championships. The two traded the lead throughout the race, with Oliveira taking command in the first 50 meters and De Lucca assuming control in the middle 100 meters. Coming off the final turn, Oliveira pulled even with De Lucca and the two stroked furiously for the finish. De Lucca, last year’s NCAA champion in the 100 and 200 freestyles, appeared to fade in the final 15 meters. Oliveira, part of a couple of NCAA champion relays in 2008, found another gear and got the win with a 1:47.45. De Lucca finished second with a 1:48.17. Both swam hard in prelims, with Oliveira qualifying first with a 1:47.95 and De Lucca right behind in 1:48.62. Oliveira just beat the FINA “A” standard of 1:47.97 and finds himself ranked 10th in the world rankings, while De Lucca’s time ranks just outside the top 20.

Etienne Medeiros, the reigning short course world champion in the 50 backstroke, nearly took down Fabiola Molina’s national record of 1:00.07 in the 100 backstroke, winning with a 1:00.61. That’s good enough for 15th in the world, but it falls short of the 1:00.25 that the Brazilian swimming federation set as the qualifying time for world championships. That time is faster than the FINA “A” standard of 1:01.25, so Medeiros might get a place on Brazil’s international roster for both competitions. Medeiros was not challenged, with Andrea Berrino finishing a distant second with a 1:02.21.

Guilherme Guido, the national record holder in the men’s 100 backstroke with a 53.24, had a race on his hands in tonight’s final. Guido led from the start to win with a 54.56, but just barely over the 54.92 by Thiago Pereira in the first of what is likely to be many races for the Olympic 400 IM medalist. Henrique Machado and Vitor Guaraldo were also in the mix with matching times of 55.00 for third place. Guido just missed the FINA “A” standard of 54.72, but a bit off the 54.36 that Brazil had set as the time to beat for automatic worlds qualification.

Poliana Okimoto appeared to have the upper hand in the fastest heat of the women’s 1500 freestyle, but at the 1000-meter mark, Samantha Arevalo began to outsplit Okimoto and could not be caught. Arevalo, a resident of Ecuador, won the final with a 16:33.35, about 10 seconds off her national record but three tenths faster than the FINA “A” qualifying standard for the world championships. Okimoto, one of the best open water swimmers in the world, settled for second with a 16:39.23, while another Brazilian open water star, Ana Cunha, took third with a 16:51.48.

Tonight’s session closed out with the men’s 200 freestyle relay, and it featured a 22.22 leadoff swim for reigning Pan Pacific champion Bruno Fratus for the Pinheiros team. That’s faster than the FINA “A” standard, but expect Fratus to be quicker in the individual event later in the week. Marcelo Chierighini followed that up with a 21.93 on the second leg for Pinheiros, but it couldn’t match the 21.36 that Cesar Cielo posted on the third leg for the Minas team to help them win with a 1:27.61 over the 1:28.28 by Pinheiros. The Unisanta team got into the mix, thanks to a 21.77 on the third leg by junior world record holder Matheus Santana that was part of the 1:29.08 for third.

2015 Maria Lenk Trophy Meet, Day 1 – Results

2 Comments

2 comments

  1. Niles Keeran

    Not good enough to match up with Miss Franklin and the American 200 free stylers…Rio 2016…

  2. avatar
    Wolfie4525

    Awesome job nico Nilo! We are cheering you on from Tucson -all the way to rio!

Author: Jeff Commings

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Jeff Commings is the Senior Writer for SwimmingWorld.com and Swimming World Magazine. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism and was a nine-time NCAA All-American.

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