The prevailing wisdom in modern swimming is that over 50 meters, especially in long course, fewer breaths are better. For most elite male competitors, that means no breaths in a race that lasts typically under 23 seconds.
But during Saturday’s prelims at the 2018 Brazil Trophy national championship meet, he defied that wisdom when he swam a 21.76 while taking an almost-unheard-of 3 breaths.
That was at the time the 3rd-best time in the world, but then in finals he went back to a traditional 0 breath swim and won the event in 21.35 – which now ranks him behind only Ben Proud’s 21.30 from the Commonwealth Games as the 2nd-best time in the world this season.
The 28-year old Fratus took a silver medal in the 50 free at last year’s World Championships, which was his best-ever result at a global championship meet. He also enters this summer as the defending Pan Pac Champion, all of which he’s defending by training alone, under the watch of his wife and with some guidance from Brett Hawke, in Florida.
Watch a video of the 3-breath prelims swim below.