Brazilian Women’s 800 Free Relay Breaks South American Record


The Brazilian women made history in Wednesday morning’s preliminary session at the 2016 Olympic Games by breaking the South American Record.

While the team was unable to make a final in front of their home crowd, they did finish 11th in 7:55.68. That took more than half-a-second from the record-setting swim done at last year’s Pan American Games.

Brazil did a complete reorder, and switched one leg, from the 7:56.36 that set the record last year.

The comparative splits:

Brazil ’15 Brazil ’16
Leadoff 1:58.98 – Manuella Lyrio 1:58.39 – Manuella Lyrio
2nd Leg 1:59.03 – Jessica Cavalheiro 1:59.05 – Jessica Cavalhero
3rd Leg 1:59.31 – Gabrielle Roncatto 2:00.09 – Joanna Maranhao
4th Leg 1:59.04 – Larissa Oliveira 1:58.15 – Larissa Oliveira
Total 7:55.68

The swap wound up not being a fortuitous one for the Brazilians. While the veteran 29-year old Maranhao is one of the best female swimmers in her generation for Brazil (she holds National Records in the 200 back, 200 fly, and 200 IM), her split was seven-tenths of a second slower than that of Gabrielle Roncatto at last year’s Pan Am Games.

Her teammates, however, more-than-made up for her, as Lyrio improved her swim by half-a-second and Oliveira dropped by almost a full second.

The time, while domestically-significant, was still not enough for a paradigm-shifting berth in the finals – they were two seconds behind Sweden for the 8th-and-final spot in the top 8.

Brazil has only made two finals in Olympic history. Once was in the 800 free relay at the 2004 Olympics, where they placed 7th; the other was a 6th-place finish in the 400 free relay at the 1948 Olympics. They also were 11th in the 400 free relay earlier this week and are seeded 12th heading into the heats of the 400 medley relay on Friday morning.

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Was it not Roncatto swimming this morning? Don’t know about Pan Ams though.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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