Franca and Marques previously worked together from 2013 to 2016 with Pinheiros and Corinthians, the last time Franca was a factor on the major international scene. He now joins Marques at Minas Tenis in Belo Horizonte, who has been coaching at the club since January of 2017.
The two will aim to peak for the Maria Lenk Trophy, April 20-25 in Rio, which will be the only competition where Brazilian athletes can qualify for the Olympic Games. In 2012, the country used a seven-meet qualification system, and in 2016, there were two meets where the swimmers could qualify.
The now 32-year-old Franca placed seventh in the 100 breaststroke at the 2016 Olympics and then competed sparingly in 2017 and 2018. He attended the Maria Lenk Trophy in Brazil but failed to qualify for any major teams. Recently, he raced on three stops of the FINA World Cup circuit in August before taking on a few SC meets in Italy in November.
A two-time LC World Championship medalist in the 50 breast (including gold in 2011), the São Paulo native will turn his entire focus to the 100. His primary competitors for Olympic spots will be Joao Gomes and Felipe Lima, both coming off World Championship medals last summer in the 50 breast.
At the 2019 Maria Lenk Trophy, Gomes and Lima tied for first in the 100 breast in 59.56, with Franca third in 59.71. His personal best time stands at 59.01, done in the heats of the 2016 Games.