NCAA Champion, World Champion, and Brazilian Olympian Joao de Lucca has announced his retirement from competitive swimming. He will move into a role as the head coach of Cardinal Aquatics in Louisville.
That club is run by Louisville head coach Arthur Albiero and his wife Amy, who is currently the team’s head coach.
“In a total of 24 years of competitive swimming, I learned many lessons that I will take with me for the rest of my life,” de Lucca said. “I learned to win, and more importantly, I learned to lose, to have the humility to acknowledge my mistakes and to have the resilience to try again. Through sport I met incredible people around the world, I had contact with different cultures and got an academic education that prepared me for the next step in my life.”
de Lucca went on to thank his wife Carol, his parents, his coaches Arthur Albiero, Chris Lindauer, and Dan Wolokita, as well as his Brazilian coaches.
He also thanked his fellow Louisville Cardinal and long-time training partner Kelsi Dahlia, saying she was the best teammate that he could have.
A two-time relay medalist at the World Junior Championships, the 30-year old De Lucca first grew to the senior elite level at the University of Louisville in the United States. There, in 2013 and 2014 he was the back-to-back American collegiate NCAA Champion in the 200 free.
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He built off that collegiate career at the 2014 World Short Course Championships, where he swam on the winning Brazilian 200 medley relay and bronze medal 200 mixed free relay. He also swam at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships on the Brazilian bronze medalist 400 free relay.
The 2015 Pan American Games saw his biggest international success, winning 3 gold medals. Two of those medals came in the men’s 400 and 800 free relays, and he also won the individual 200 free – his only major international medal of any color.
De Lucca swam on brazil’s 800 free relay at the 2018 World Championships where they swam to a 7th-place finish. There he split 1:47.11, which was the team’s 3rd-best split behind Fernando Scheffer (1:45.97) and Breno Correia (1:46.84). He was faster than Luiz Altamir Melo, who led off in 1:47.72.
He was not a member of the Brazilian 800 free relay at the 2018 World Short Course Championships that turned heads with a World Record. After saying he was considering retirement in the summer of 2018, by 2019 de Lucca worked his way back into the country’s top quartet in that event.
De Lucca represented the New York Breakers last season in his first and only season in the International Swimming League. He swam at all 3 of the team’s meets, scoring 16 total “MVP points.”
His best results came in the team’s finale at the US Derby in College Park, Maryland, where he finished 3rd in the 200 free.
De Lucca and his wife Carol welcomed their first child, Kira Ganon de Lucca, in February of this year.