The Brazilian sprinting contingent put the world on notice yesterday, with four studs clocking sub-49-second 100m freestyles either in prelims or final at the Brazil Open. Nicolas Oliveira led the charge in 48.41, followed by Mattheus Santana in 48.71, and Marcelo Chierghini and Alan Vitoria in times of 48.85 and 48.96, respectively.
The first to respond to the Brazilian beasts was none other than Florent Manaudou, who scorched the men’s 100m freestyle field in Nimes, France while competing at the Christmas meet. Just when it seemed as if 2015’s most potent 50m freestyler had lost his touch in the 100m distance, Manaudou fired off a time of 47.98 to lay waste to the competitors, which included countrymate Yannick Agnel, and rocket Manaudou to the top of the world rankings for the 2015-16 season.
For Manaudou, the time ties his best time ever. The only other occasion in which the Frenchman has dipped beneath the 48-second threshold was hitting 47.98 in Berlin 2014. His swiftest of 2015 was the 48.77 he registered in Vichy this summer, so he knocked almost a cool .8 of a second from that effort to make a statement in Nimes today. In fact, his 47.98 from today would have earned him the bronze at the 2015 FINA World Championships.
What’s especially head-turning about this swim was the fact that Manaudou had only raced to 20th place last week while competing at the Amsterdam Cup. The 25-year-old touched in 50.46 to finish well out of the final. Later that same meet, Manaudou sprinted the first 100 of the men’s 200m freestyle prelims, improving slightly on his individual swim by clocking a 49-point. Both are well off the sub-48 he just threw down in Nimes, however.
The next closest competitor to Manaudou in the 100m today was actually a pair of athletes, as both Fabien Gilot and Grégory Mallet tied for 2nd place in 49.96. Fourth went to Yannick Agnel in 50.07, well off his 2015 best mark of 48.68 from April of this year.