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2016 SOUTH AMERICAN MALE SWIMMER OF THE YEAR: FELIPE FRANCA SILVA
After setting a new South American record in the Olympic preliminaries of the 100 breaststroke with 59.01 and then going on to finish seventh overall in the event, Felipe Franca Silva is our 2016 South American Male Swimmer of the Year.
That preliminary performance moved Silva up to tie for fourteenth-fastest 100 LCM breaststroker in history, alongside Mark Gangloff.
The Rio 2016 Olympics marked Silva’s career third Games, and his 100 breast performance was his first-ever Olympic final.
Franca also swam on Brazil’s seventh-place Olympic medley relay and finished just .01 outside the podium at the FINA Short Course World Championships, clocking 57.05 to Italy’s Fabio Scozzoli’s bronze-medal 57.04. In addition, to cap off the year, Franca tied for fifth place in the the Short Course World Championships 50 breast with 26.13.
In no particular order
• Joao Gomes: Though the South American record tipped Silva over the edge for our 2016 Swammy Award, his teammate Gomes actually had the highest finish of the Brazilian pool swimmers at the Rio Olympics. Gomes edged out Silva’s Olympic 7th-place 59.38 100 breaststroke with his own 59.31 for fifth place.
• Bruno Fratus: Just eight days after we awarded the 2015 version of this award, Fratus took over the spot as fastest swimmer in the world with a 21.37 LCM 50 free lead-off at the 2015 Brazil Open. That swim tied him with Nathan Adrian for the 10th-fastest performer of all time, and made him the 2nd fastest textile-suit South American in history. Fratus sat at the top of the world for most of the 2016 season. However, at the Olympics Fratus fell short, tying for sixth overall with 21.79.
• Brandonn Almeida: Like Fratus, Almeida also had a fantastic 2015 Brazil Open soon after we awarded the 2015 Swammys, scoring a junior world record in the 400 IM with 4:14.07. Although Sean Grieshop soon took over the record and Almeida ended up 15th overall in the event at the Olympics, the nineteen-year-old saw major success later in the year at the 2016 Brazil Open. There, he set his first-ever South American record with 3:49.46 in the 400 freestyle.