Finally, some excitement at the 2013 Maria Lenk Trophy in Brazil. So much excitement that I felt compelled to bring a special prelims report to pronounce the 21.58 swum by Cesar Cielo in the morning heats of the 50 free to lead the qualifiers into finals, head of Bruno Fratus and his 21.98.
For Cielo, now swimming with the logo of Adidas on his cap rather than the familiar diamonds of Arena, that’s the second-best time in the world this year, behind only the Olympic champion Florent Manaudou. Don’t be surprised if Cielo is able to get a little quicker this evening: In the past at this meet, he’s been very good in finals of these sprint freestyles.
Though this time is slower, so far, than he was at Maria Lenk last year, it is faster than he was at the Olympics, so for now his training under new coach Scott Goodrich is going well, at least.
Marcelo Chierighini (22.33), Nicholas dos Santos (22.433), and Alan Vitoria (22.21) will also be in the A-Final and were all under the FINA Automatic Qualifying Time. Joao de Lucca, swimming in an “observed” status, was 22.96 – shy of his best time.
In the other men’s prelim, the 400 IM, Olympic silver medalist Thiago Pereira did in fact race, but he just skated into finals in 4:30.34 as the 7th seed. Much speculation has been that this was a race swum simply for the team scoring, and not one that he’s actually been training for.
Henrique Rodrigues is the top seed in 4:22.84, and 15-year old Brandonn Pierry is the second seed in 4:25.93.
Inge Dekker took the top seed in the women’s 50 free in 25.25, followed closely by Brazilian 20-year old Graciele Hermann in 25.32 and Alessandra Moarhioro in 25.48. The World Championship qualifying mark is 25.34, meaning the Brazilian women have earned their first new qualifier for Barcelona at this meet.