Whenever Cesar Cielo is in action at a major Brazilian meet, it is akin to the fervor that surrounds any Michael Phelps meet in the United States, and then some. That that fervor reached a fever pitch on Friday when Cielo took on the finals of the men’s 100 free at the Jose Finkel Trophy, in short course meters, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Cielo turned in a blazing 21.86, and came home just as well to finish in 45.91.
That’s not his best time over the last two-plus years, but it is faster than anybody else has been since the polyurethane suits were outlawed after the 2009 short course season.
Despite swearing-off the 100 free at future major meets, this result might lead Cielo to at least give his self-inflicted moratorium at least for the short course World Championships in Istanbul this winter.
The runner-up in the race was Nicholas dos Santos in 47.32, with the pair likely joined on the relay by Nicolas Oliveira (47.36) and Louisville’s Joao de Lucca (47.72).
With the team title coming down to the last day, Cielo’s Flamengo teammate, Marieke Guehrer won the women’s 100 free in 52.76. Though she’s Australian, she still gets 70 bonus points for being better than the Old American Record.
Larissa Oliveira and Graciele Hermann tied for 2nd in 54.46, with another Australian, and Club Flamengo, swimmer Kelly Stubbins placing 4th in 54.50. Minas are the team with whom Flamengo is battling, and their lone representative in this final, Inge Dekker, was only 5th in 54.73. She had been great up until this point of the meet, but cracked a little bit after a long summer of competition.
Though this race was early in the session, this result for the first time of the week allowed Flamengo to take control of the team competition.
In other action, Corinthians’ Thiago Pereira broke his Brazilian and South American Records in the 200 IM with a 1:52.30. That’s the 8th-fastest swim in history, and only the now-retired Michael Phelps, and Ryan Lochte, have been better in textile. He won the race by two-and-a-half seconds ahead of Henrique Rodrigues in 1:54.82.
Femke Heemskerk got a few points back in the women’s version of the 200 IM with a 2:10.31, which is a Championship Record for 18 bonus points.
No splits were available after the meet, but Cesar Cielo and the Flamengo team ran away with a 3:10.52 for the victory.
The top four, with one day to go, leaves a pair of great battles on the final day: one for 1st, and one for 2nd. Both margins sit right around the difference between an event victory.
1) Flamengo, 1857.50
2) Minas Tênis, 1824.50
3) Corinthians – 1558
4) Pinheiros – 1510.50