Felipe Franca Silva
Felipe Franca Silva is a Brazilian sprint breaststroker, and multi-time Olympian. Franca began swimming at just 3 years old, and it didn’t take him long to become the Junior Champion at 13. He broke out to the international senior scene in 2008, making his first Olympic Team, and has since accumulated numerous records from holder the former World Record in the 50-meter breaststroke to Americas and South American Records.
In 2008 Franca competed at his first World Championships competition, where he finished in the top 16 in both of his individual events. A month after he earned a roster spot on Brazil’s Olympic Team as its premier 100 breaststroker. He is more of a 50-meter swimmer, but Franca swims the 100 at Olympic events. In Beijing Franca failed to advance to the championship final in the 100-meter breast, finishing 22nd.
2009 World Record
In 2009 Franca competed at the Brazilian Nationals, where he became the first swimmer to ever swim the 50-meter breaststroke under 27 seconds. His time of 26.89 was a new World Record. Later that year Franca won a silver medal at the FINA World Championships in the 50 breast, but lost his World Record to rival, Cameron van der Burgh.
2010-2011 World Championships
At the Short Course Worlds in 2010 Franca won the 50-meter breast, and broke another World Record in addition to the Championship Record, previously held by van der Burgh. He also picked up a bronze medal in the 100-meter distance. His 4×100-meter medley relay broke the South American Record, which was good enough for bronze.
At the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai Franca won back-to-back world titles in the 50-meter breast, taking out van der Burgh, who also held the World Record.
2012 London Olympics
Prior to London, Franca swam the 100-meter breast under 1:00 at the Maria Lenk Trophy in Rio de Janeiro, and won his spot on the 2012 Olympic Team. There, he also recorded the world’s fastest time of the year in the 50 breast; however, in London Franca could not get his 100 breast under the 1:00 standard, and could not advance past the semi-finals this time finishing 12th overall.
After having somewhat of a disappointing Olympics, Franca had an extremely successful year in 2014. He started off at the Pan Pacific Championships, where he won a silver medal in the 100 breast, and even ventured into the 200 breast territory, finishing 13th overall. Later at the José Finkel Trophy he broke the Americas Record in the 100 short course meter breaststroke.
Doha World Short Course Championships
His domination was truly displayed was at the 2014 World Short Course Championships in Doha. He won five gold medals, which helped Brazil to one of his best performances of all time.
Brazil won the gold in the 4×100-meter medley relay, and destroyed the World Record at the time. The team, consisting of only medalists or world championships, was known as the Dream Team at the time. That same day he won gold in the 100-meter breast in a new Championship Record, in addition to three more golds in the 50 breast, 4×50 medley relay and the 4×50 mixed medley relay.
2015 World Championships
At the 2015 World Championships in Kazan Franca was scheduled to swim his primary events, the 50, 100 and 200 breast. Franca started off the meet with the 100-meter breast, where he advanced to the semi-finals after dropping a sub-1:00 race. In the semi’s though, Franca took out the race too fast and didn’t have enough left to finish strong.
In his best event, the 50 breast, Franca swam his best time in the semi’s since 2012, and advanced to the championship final. He swam the exact same time in the final, 26.87, to finish in 4th place.
2016 Rio Olympics
Franca was one of two Brazilian’s in the 100 meter breaststroke final, making the Olympic Aquatic Stadium even louder than usual. Franca finished 7th in 59.38, while his country mate Joao Gomes finished 5th in 59.31.