Tonight brings breaking news on the NCAA (and international) scene as Brett Hawke has landed himself the next great sprint superstar in young Brazilian Marcelo Chierighini.
This is a move that we have heard rumored about for several weeks, as Auburn appeared in a position to make a mid-season move, and it is now being confirmed by several Brazilian publications including the Brazilian sports site SportTV. All of a sudden, the Auburn relays go from having a lot of question marks to being dynamite, and this move likely moves up at least a spot or two at NCAA’s as a result. This is definitely the earth-shattering move we were looking for.
Chierighini, who is only 19 years old, was a member of the Brazilian sprint relays at the recent Dubai World Short Course Championships: including the third leg of their bronze medal winning 400 free relay. His split on that relay was a 47.02, which converts to roughly a 42.1 in yards racing. Adding a few tenths for the relay start, this ranks him roughly in the top 5 in the country. Between Chierighini and Adam Brown (42.5 this season), Auburn now moves ahead of Texas for the top sprint duo in the country. Add in Karl Krug, and Auburn has 3 sprinters who have gone 43.2 or better this season.
Now Brown is able to move to the butterfly leg of the medley, where he should be able to go a 46-high. With Jared White on the backstroke (currently 7th-47.26), and National Team member Adam Klein on breaststroke (currently 4th-53.39), the Auburn medleys have a chance at challenging to repeat their second-place finishes from last year’s NCAA’s, despite losing their top freestyler and butterflier.
There is still no confirmation on whether or not Henrique Rodrigues, who is reportedly committed to Auburn, will be joining his teammate. The last young Brazilian sprinter to make the move to swim at Auburn, sprint superstar Cesar Cielo, has not announced his final decision on a training ground. He has been training with the Brazilian club Flamengo after a disappointing Pan Pacific Championships.
Brazilian correspondent Caio Leal contributed to this report. Read his Portugese-language swimming site at http://simplesmenteesporte.wordpress.com/