Budapest 2022, Day 1 South America Recap: Balduccini, Costa Make History


Stephanie Balduccini became the first Brazilian to go sub-54 in the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay while leading her country to a 6th-place finish with a 53.97 split at Saturday’s World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. 

Balduccini’s time was faster than the Brazilian record in the 100 free, Larissa Oliveira’s 54.03 from 2016. A 17-year-old Michigan commit, Balduccini took .09 seconds off her anchor leg from last summer’s Tokyo Olympics, where she was the quickest on a quartet that placed 12th. At 16, she was the youngest Brazilian Olympian in 41 years. 

Balduccini’s Worlds debut was the biggest milestone so far in what’s been a huge year so far. In April, she clocked a massive personal best of 1:57.77 to win the women’s 200 free at the Brazil Trophy. Then last month, she picked up 11 medals – seven individual, four relay, and four gold – at the South American Youth Games. Don’t be surprised if Balduccini also makes a splash in the 200 free on Tuesday.

16-year-old Chinese phenom Cheng Yujie (53.18) was the only swimmer younger than Balduccini who dipped under the 54-second mark in Saturday’s 4×100 free relay. 

24-year-old teammate Giovanna Diamante wasn’t far behind Balduccini with a 54.09. Together, the middle two legs of the relay helped hold off Hungary and Netherlands, which were both within a tenth of a second. Brazil finished less than a second off the national record of 3:37.39 from 2015 Pan American Games.

Brazil’s 6th-place result marked the first time that the country’s women placed higher than the men (7th place) at Worlds. 

  • 23-year-old Brazilian Guilherme Costa’s bronze medal in the men’s 400 free was historic not just for his home country, but for South America as a whole. His time of 3:43.31 broke his own continental record from prelims by more than a second. The victory marked not only the first medal by a South American swimmer in the men’s 400 free at Worlds, but also the first time one even qualified for the event’s final. What’s more, it was the first medal by a South American in the men’s 400 free from any major international meet since Argentinian Alberto Zorrilla at the 1928 Olympics. Costa also holds the South American records in the 800 and 1500 free, marks that he’ll be trying to lower when he swims both events next week.  
  • 42-year-old Nicholas Santos snuck into the men’s 50 fly final on Sunday as the eighth seed with a 23.04. He may be a longshot to stretch his streak of 3 Worlds in a row with a medal in the event, but the fact that he even has a chance is an impressive feat in itself. If he did medal, he’d be the oldest to do so while breaking a tie with Ian Crocker for second-most medals in the event. Santos is twice the age of 21-year-old Italian Thomas Ceccon, who tied Caeleb Dressel for the second qualifying spot in 22.79.

National Records (South America)

  • Brazil: Guilherme Costa, men’s 400 free – 3:43.31 * also a South American record
    • Previous Brazilian record: Guilherme Costa – 3:44.52 from prelims (2022)

Medals Tables (South America)

Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
Brazil 0 0 1 1


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Bolsonaro Rei Do Mundo
3 months ago

Balduccini is in a position to become the best Brazilian swimmer of all time. 17 years old and is about to break the South American records for the 100 and 200 meters freestyle. If she evolves continuously, in 4 years Brazil will be able to have its first medalist in Worlds and Olympics (in Olympic events, let’s ignore Etiene Medeiros who won medals in the 50m backstroke).

3 months ago

??? Costa got bronze..

Former Big10
Reply to  Noah
3 months ago

Another gold medal for the SS editing team

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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