Cesar Cielo’s Flamengo Club, Defending National Champs, Drops Swim Team

The Club de Regatas do Flamengo, the club best known for being the representation of Brazilian superstar Cesar Cielo, has dropped his contract and cut their senior team, according to Brazilian site Lancenet.

The decision came as the club is determined to present a team that meets the three standards of the board: being self-sustaining, being competitive, and training at the Club. The latter of those is a major challenge because the club’s pool doesn’t meet the wants or desires of Brazil’s elite professional swimmers.

“Instead of renewing the contract, which ends on Monday, let’s invest in basic and reform the water park,” Alexandre Povoa, vice-president of Olympic sports to Lancenet.

Flamengo will not field an adult swim team (20+) in 2013, though they still will support the junior squad.

This is a huge blow in Brazilian swimming, as the club are the defending champions of the Maria Lenk Trophy: the country’s major championship meet. This would be the equivalent of the United States of SwimMAC Carolina or Cal cutting their swimming programs.

Other swimmers who represent Flamengo include Leonardo de Deus, Henrique Barbosa, former Michigan star Andre Schulz, 2012 Short Course World Champion Nicholas dos Santos, Louisville All-American Joao de Lucca, and Tales Cerdeira, among others. The squad is also the official club-of-record for top female swimmers Joanna de Maranhao and Daynara de Paula. For this year’s Maria Lenk Trophy, they also imported Spanish star Mireia Belmonte and American Eugene Godsoe to join their club for the weekend.

This won’t have a big effect on Cielo’s training, as he had been training with the independent PRO-16 project, but it will hit his pocket-books hard: his annual contract is reported to have been well into 6-figures in dollars per year. Flamengo did not make a commitment to the swim program one way or the other beyond 2013, and this isn’t the first time this issue has come up. When the all-star PRO-16 training squad first was put together, many teams balked at the idea of their elite swimmers training with someone else, causing some swimmers to pull out. Another member of this squad, Olympic medalist Thiago Pereira, has also lost his contract this fall with Corinthians (the 4th-place squad last year).

Cielo’s training situation is likely to change in the near future anyway, as he was less-than-pleased with his Olympic performance. Though he earned a bronze in his best event the 50 free, and swam fairly well in the 100, he didn’t go his best 50 time at the end of the year. His season wasn’t a disaster, but it wasn’t great either. Cielo has been spotted in Auburn, Alabama in the last week, so it’s possible that an increased involvement by his former college coach Brett Hawke will be in play, though this is unlikely to be a full-time move because of his desire to stay close to home and because of sponsor obligations.

Flamengo is a multi-sport club that both serves a membership and is home to the country’s most popular soccer team of the same name. Prior to coming to the squad in 2010, Cielo represented Pinheiros, a team that had dominated national competitions and was the runner-up at Maria Lenk in 2012.

In This Story


  1. DDias says:

    Its a sad day for brazilian swimming… and very bad for a Club is going to host USA swimming squad for 2016 games…unafortunately, they can t see anything beyond soccer.

  2. Nadador says:

    Such is the state of affairs in the country that will host the next Olympics.

    The decision to cut swimming is because it was a project led/implemented by the former president, Patrícia Amorin (a swimmer Olympian for Brazil).

    The newly elected “gang” (yes, that’s the proper term) simply cut the swimming program because it was linked to Amorin’s success (pet peeve, anyone?).

    • DDias says:

      Yes, you are right.And what i got mad is this:
      The cost of ALL Flamengo swimming team was equilavelent a US$1.5 milion dolars/year.They have a backfield(in soccer team) earning more than WHOLE swimming team.If they can not afford to find a single sponsor for swim team, i will find very hard to do the MIRACLES they wanna do in soccer team… and we have 2016 looking in the corner…

      DETAIL: They dont cut the budget of last year for Olympic Sports(Near US$7.5 millions) for next year.They will realocate for other sports like Basketball and gymnastics.

  3. Coach2016 says:

    When was Cesar seen at Auburn? I doubt Hawke will take post grads…

  4. Palo Alto says:

    wait, isn’t Louisville De Lucca still eligible for NCAA? how come he is sponsored by Flamengo?

    Something is not right. How come the clearing house cleared him to swim as amateur if he was being sponsored?

    • Braden Keith says:

      Palo Alto – similarly to in the u.s., not all swimmers who represent the club are pros. Think SwimMAC and Micah Lawrence or Tim Phillips. They may just pay costs for competition in the summers as is allowed within limits by NCAA. Didn’t mean to imply he was a pro athlete.

      • Coach GB says:

        In general the NCAA has never done an in depth research into “Expenses” for foriegn swimmers in general from many countries.

    • DDias says:

      PALO ALTO,
      let me CLARIFY something to you:

      In Brazil, no swimmer can swim unattached(without a club team).A swimmer without a club team will not be capable to qualify for competitions like Worlds and Olympics.CBDA rules.Basically, all swimming in Brazil is a club team championships.

  5. Three Fly Jet says:

    Wow, her wikipedia page is just brutal:


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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. 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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