If there’s one thing that Brazil can consistently produce in their domestic swimming program, it’s world-class sprinters. Often they spend a portion of their careers in the United States to hone their skills, but ultimately the country keeps turning out more-and-more of them.
Now, however, the man who many view as the lead dog headed to the 2016 Olympics, Bruno Fratus, will be taking a bit of a different path, as he heads to Europe to train with the ADN Project, the squad announced today.
Fratus will join his coach Arilson Silva, a former Brazilian National Team coach, with the squad chaired by Italian Andrea di Nino.
Bruno, only 23 years old, placed 4th in the 50 freestyle at the London Olympics in 21.61 – missing his countrymate Cesar Cielo for the bronze medal by just .02 seconds. That time made him the 17th-fastest swimmer in history, and Brazil’s 3rd-best of all time behind only Cielo and Nicholas dos Santos.
The ADN Project was founded in 2005 as a professional-specific training group for Europe at a time where the continent was viewed to be badly in need of one. After the success of their star pupil, Russian butterflier Evgeny Korotyshkin, at the Olympics, interest in the group has spiked. Korotyshkin took a silver medal in the 100 fly behind only Michael Phelps. Other members of the group ahead of London include another Russian Sergey Fesikov and Kenyan Jason Dunford.
Others who have joined the project since include Azerbaijan’s top prospect Yauheni Lazuka, once one of the top butterfly prospects in the world (though at 23 he’s plateau’ed a bit since).
Though Brazilian fans will surely be pleased to see Fratus going to work with this high-profile group without having to change coaches, this will be a blow to the local ego. To lose one of their top coaches and athletes to Europe for potentially the entire four-year leadup to the 2016 Olympics in Rio likely won’t sit well with the leadership of Brazilian Swimming, including their very self-confident leader Coaracy Nunes.