We reported this morning that Olympic and World Champion sprinter, Cesar Cielo, scored a disappointing 11th place result in the men’s 100m freestyle prelims while competing at the Brazilian Open. The meet has extra significance, as it serves as one of two opportunities for Brazilian swimmers to earn FINA Olympic qualifying times and score their spots on the 2016 Rio roster.
Cielo wound up 11th and out of tonight’s final in the men’s 100m freestyle, clocking a time of 49.55 this morning. The time was a ways off his incoming seed of 48.58 and well behind the leader, Nicolas Oliveira, who touched in 48.41. Additionally, the FINA “A” cut sits at 48.99, so Cielo fell short of that standard as well. Because Cielo swam the 100m freestyle individually, he’s unable to count any cut he may achieve if he were to lead-off his team, Minas Tenis, in the men’s 400m freestyle relay later in the meet.
The 28-year-old was still scheduled to swim the individual 50m freestyle, of which he currently stands as the World Record Holder. But, in a scenario reminiscent of his leaving this summer’s FINA World Championships after finishing 6th in the 50m butterfly, Cielo has left the Brazilian Open competition early.
We speculated this morning that he potentially was using this meet as a test event of sorts to assess to the rehabilitation progress of his nagging shoulder injury, the issue which caused him to withdraw from Kazan. Perhaps his result in the individual 100m has given him the indication he needed that his recovery indeed will take more time to get him into the range of performances we’re used to seeing from this Brazilian beast.
The only statement received on the subject of Cielo’s early departure comes from Globo Esporte who quotes Cielo’s longtime doctor Gustavo Magliocca as saying “the decision was private, not medical.”
The second meet in which Olympic qualifying times can be obtained is the Maria Lenk Trophy, slated for mid-April.