Welcome the the 21-second club, Portugal.
At the Portuguese Open Championships, Miguel Nascimento broke his own national record in the 50m freestyle, blasting 21.90. Not only is that his first time under the 21-second barrier, he’s the first Portuguese man to do it.
Earlier in the meet, the 27-year-old won the 50 freestyle by equaling his then-national record, 22.01. Before the 100 freestyle, he asked his coach to get his time at the 50-meter mark of the race. He told reporters, “as soon as I finished the race I went to [my coach], ‘I want to try at least one more time; have one more opportunity to improve,’ and he believed me and said I could do it.”
Though the record came during a longer race, it can still be ratified an official record since it was timed from his start. After stopping at the 50 to get the time, Nascimento then finished his race.
In addition to his 50 freestyle record, Nascimento also owns the Portuguese record in the 200 free. At the Mediterranean Games at the beginning of July, Nascimento was a part of the relays that broke national records in the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay, and the men’s 4×100 medley relay. At these Championships, the 4×50 freestyle and medley relays were raced, and he helped set national records in those events too.
With Nascimento’s new mark, Portugal becomes the 31st country to have a swimmer faster than 22 seconds. They aren’t the first country to hit that milestone this season: at the Southeast Asian Games in May, Teong Tzen Wei became the first swimmer from Singapore under the mark.
According to BestSwimming, Nascimento’s participation at the European Championships is still in question, as he and his wife are expecting a child soon.
Full List of Countries In the “21 Club”
- Great Britain
- Hong Kong
- South Africa
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United States