Disclaimer: HardCore Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week. HardCore Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many hard-core swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks some as others grabbed the headlines.
In 2012, Brazil won just two total medals at Short Course World Championships. In 2014, Etiene Medeiros could match that total all by herself.
Medeiros had an outstanding meet last weekend at Brazil’s Jose Finkel Trophy, which served as the nation’s short course nationals and World Champs selection meet. Medeiros won four events in all, smashing national and continental records in three of them.
Medeiros won the 50 free (24.15) and both sprint backstrokes (26.41 in the 50 and 57.53 in the 100), breaking Brazilian and South American records with all three swims. In the 100 fly, she beat the national and South American record-holder Daynara de Paula, though neither was able to get under de Paula’s record from the super-suit era.
For a sprinter who is just 23, this was a big breakthrough meet, and it’ll mean a tremendous amount to Brazil if she can repeat these performances in December. At the 2012 Short Course Worlds, Brazil fell off dramatically in the medal table, dropping from 8 total medals in 2010 to just 2 in 2012.
But Medeiros’s 3 record-setting swims would have put her right in medal contention two seasons ago, and that 50 back swim would have earned her a bronze medal. She’ll have a tough fight to earn even one medal, of course, in a world that continues to get faster at a rapid pace. But Medeiros seems to be on the upswing and is riding a huge wave of momentum after these Brazilian Championships.
In Doha this December, Medeiros will be a key piece of a Brazilian attack set up to improve their medal tally dramatically. Cesar Cielo is swimming extremely well after ending his long course season early to fine-tune the engine for Doha, and he’ll be a huge threat in the 50 and 100 frees to improve on the single gold medal Brazil picked up in 2012.
But the burden will fall heavy on the top-end swimmers like Cielo and Medeiros. Several big names appear poised to drop out of Short Course Worlds despite qualifying for the team. Among them are Pan Pacs champ Bruno Fratus, who told Blog do Coach that short course swimming, even short course worlds, means very little to him (though he said it in a much more colorful way… you can find his full remarks in Portuguese on Globo’s Blog do Coach here). Leonardo de Deus appears to be in the same camp, and both are very likely scratches from the Worlds team.
That means that Medeiros will be under an even bigger spotlight as she attempts to put Brazil atop the world sprints in both genders – so far, Brazil’s women have mostly been led by their distance and open water swimmers (Open Water World Cup points leaders Poliana Okimoto and Ana Marcela Cunha, for example), but Medeiros leads a new generation of Brazilian women who hope to rise to the level to which Cielo and Fratus, among others, have brought male sprinting.
Based on her times at Finkel, the fastest ever done by a Brazilian woman in those events, she’s well on her way.
Thanks to D’Artagnan Dias for his major contributions to our Jose Finkel coverage as well as his insights into South American swimming.
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