2018 Swammy Awards: Nicholas Santos, Male S. American Swimmer of Year

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2018 Male South American Swimmer of the Year, Nicholas Santos, Brazil

38-year-old Nicholas Santos of Brazil ended 2018 with both a World Record and a World Championship, though not at the same time.

To start things off back in August at the 2018 Jose Finkel Trophy, Santos blasted a 22.17 to win the Brazilian national title in the 50 SCM fly, finishing just .09 off his own South American Record in the event. Santos also took 2nd in the 100 fly in 50.67, just behind Indiana Hoosier Vini Lanza, who touched in 50.17.

In October at the 2018 FINA World Cup stop in Budapest, Santos blasted a 21.75 in the 50 SCM butterfly to become the fastest man in history in the event, erasing Steffen Deibler‘s suited World Record from 2009, which had stood at 21.80. While breaking the World Record, Santos became only the 4th man ever to break the 21-seconds barrier in the 50 SCM fly, joining the likes of Deibler, and South Africans Roland Schoeman and Chad le Clos.

Santos’ World Record garnered him enough FINA points to leave Budapest as the men’s high-point victor. All told, Santos only swam at two World Cup stops–Eindhoven and Budapest–yet still scored an immense $49,500 for his two weekends of racing, and finished 7th overall in the 2018 FINA World Cup standings for money earned. For points earned, Santos finished 11th overall.

At the 2018 FINA World Championships in Hangzhou, Santos won gold in the 50 fly in 21.81,  the 3rd-fastest swim all-time behind only his own World Record and Deibler’s suited 21.80. Though he just missed resetting his own World Record in China, Santos still walked away with the Championship Record in the race.

With no other individual events to swim, Santos was free to focus on the medley relays. In the 4 x 50 medley relay, Santos split a 22.02 helping Brazil capture the bronze medal behind Team USA (silver) and Russia (gold). In the 4 x 100 medley relay, Santos split an impressive 49.42 in the 100 fly (splitting 22.65 at the 50), making his the 3rd-fastest fly split in the field, though Brazil finished off the podium in 4th.

Honorable Mentions

In no particular order:

  • Fernando Scheffer, Brazil: At the 2018 Brazil Open just a couple weeks ago, 20-year-old Fernando Scheffer broke the South American Record in the 200 LCM freestyle, in a time of 1:45.51. The times stands as a mark of steady improvement for Scheffer, who swam a 1:46.12 at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo, touching the wall 4th and just missing the podium. Though he never got to stand on the podium in Japan, Scheffer did post the 2nd-fastest split of all swimmers in the 800 freestyle relay, where he threw down a massive 1:44.87. Scheffer also placed 6th in the 400 freestyle at Pan Pacs with a 3:50.55. At the 2018 FINA World Championships in Hangzhou, Scheffer helped Brazil to a new World Record in the 800 freestyle relay, contributing a 1:40.99 split. Scheffer also lowered his own South American Record in the 400 SCM freestyle in Hangzhou, touching the wall in a 3:39.10 in the prelims. In finals, Scheffer would swim a 3:39.40 for 8th place. Scheffer was also part of a strong Brazilian contingent at the 2018 Setti Colli Trophy in Rome. There, Scheffer tied teammate Luiz Melo for gold in the 200 free, touching in 1:46.84.
  • Guilherme Costa, Brazil: 19-year-old Guilherme Costa had a huge summer. First, at the Setti Colli Trophy in Rome, Costa broke his own South American Record in the 800 LCM freestyle, posting a 7:50.92 to place 2nd behind 1500m 2016 Olympic gold medalist Gregorio Paltrenieri of Italy. Two days later, in the 1500, Costa placed 3rd in a time of 15:07.33, well off his own South American Record of 14:59.01, set in December of 2017. Later in August at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo, Costa placed 4th in the 800 freestyle, touching in a 7:51.67, and 5th in the 1500 in a 15:03.40. At the recent 2018 Brazil Open, Costa kept the momentum of Pan Pacs going, winning the 1500 freestyle in 15:05.45.

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4 years ago

“their urine concentrations were within the normal range and not diluted which
meant that the Furosemide could not have been used as a masking agent.”

Dude had furosemide (not a performance enhancer, but a potential masking agent) in his urine once out of countless doping tests. The tests determined that the urine was not diluted, meaning the furosemide wasn’t masking anything. And they ultimately found the source of the furosemide and determined it was accidental…

…yet people are still convinced that Santos and Cielo are cheaters. If people want to keep singing that tune, at least present the facts.

— Credit to OL’ LONGHORN for the link

4 years ago

He is not the only one on drugs, the usa are the drug kings and queens, thats why they are hated by the rest of the world!

Ol' Longhorn
4 years ago

The FINA appeal was dismissed by CAS back in 2011 (http://www.centrostudisport.it/PDF/TAS_CAS_ULTIMO/81.pdf). Short version: independent lab found that a caffeine supplement was tainted with furosemide. None of the four swimmers were faulted. There’s pretty compelling documentary evidence in there. They were trying to target the right dose of caffeine that was allowed but performance-enhancing, without causing the GI upset that coffee gave Cielo. They tried a caffeine capsule before Maria Lenka that year, and was the only time they tested positive.

4 years ago

I am skeptical that he is clean not only based on his past history but also that 38 year olds cannot compete with younger individuals. Name the last male at that age that was able to set a world record in any event, let alone one requiring the highest level of strenght/power/speed. Why didn’t he do this 10-15 years ago? PHysiologically he is not getting better as things begin to detiorate after 25-30

samuel huntington
Reply to  Meeeeee
4 years ago

Anthony Ervin won Olympic gold in the 50 free at age 35.

Reply to  samuel huntington
4 years ago

Anthony Ervin was Olympic champion at 20. Santos does not have that kind of track record and he already got caught doping before. Suspicious indeed.

Reply to  Meeeeee
4 years ago

Not quite WRs but what about Dara Torres Olympic silver and PB aged 41? Mark Foster first UK swimmer under 22 in freestyle aged 38? Anthony Ervin PB and Olympic gold aged 35? Track and field you have Kim Collins breaking 10 seconds aged 40

Heard lots of people talk about physical deterioration after 25-30 but maybe this should be revised given more intelligent diets, training programs etc

Wannabe Thorpe
Reply to  Sprintdude9000
4 years ago

Makes me wonder, when we start to develop the tech to slow down aging in a few years, will it count as doping? If the body never physically deteriorated, maybe MP would have gone 1:51 low before he retired.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Wannabe Thorpe
4 years ago

The mind quits before the body does.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Meeeeee
4 years ago

I give you George Foreman. Highest level of strength/power/speed? Try boxing. You can add Bernard Hopkins to that list. Pretty sure they both beat the snot out of much younger opponents to become world champs. That’s a helluva lot harder than being a WR holder in the 50 fly.

Wannabe Thorpe
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
4 years ago

Mike Tyson…

4 years ago

You can hate all you want, he payed for his crime and his results are legit. All in accordance with the rules.

There you go Nick!!!

Reply to  Observer
4 years ago

He cheated though. He got caught and serving your time for drugs just doesn’t make sense – you’ve still got the benefit.

4 years ago

I agree. I think we should follow ISL and not give plaudits and opportunities to those who have tested positive.

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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