Nicholas Santos Becomes 2nd Fastest Performer Ever With 22.61 50 Fly


  • Tuesday, May 2nd – Saturday, May 6th
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Prelims: 9:30 AM Rio time / 8:30 AM EST (Saturday at 10:30 / 9:30 AM)
  • Finals: 5:30 PM Rio time / 4:30 PM EST (Fri/Sat 7 / 6 PM)
  • Long Course (50m)
  • Brazilian Selection Meet for 2017 World Championships
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After tying the world #1 time this morning in 22.80 in the men’s 50 fly, Brazilian veteran Nicholas Santos went even better tonight at the Maria Lenk Trophy, going 22.61 to become the 2nd fastest performer in history and the fastest ever in a textile suit. He also broke countryman Cesar Cielo‘s South American and Brazilian record of 22.76 with the swim.

He now only trails Spain’s Rafael Munoz in the all-time rankings, who went 22.4 four times in 2009, but all were done with the suits that are now illegal.

Here’s a look at the 5 fastest 50 fly performers in history:

  1. Rafael Munoz, 22.43, 2009
  2. Nicholas Santos, 22.61, 2017
  3. Milorad Cavic, 22.67, 2009
  4. Andriy Govorov, 22.69, 2016
  5. Matt Target, 22.73, 2009

*Note: Roland Schoeman has a 22.57 listed on the FINA all-time rankings, but there is no specified meet, just ‘Top times (personal best)’. There is no other record of this swim found, so for now we’ll leave Santos’ as #2 all-time.

Check out a full recap of events from day 4 finals below:

Women’s 400 IM

  1. Joanna Maranhao, Unisanta, 4:38.63
  2. Florencia Perotti, Pinheiros, 4:50.75
  3. Bruna Primati, Pinheiros, 4:50.85

Joanna Maranhao continued her hot streak here in Rio, winning the women’s 400 IM in the 12th fastest time in the world at 4:38.63. She just missed her own Brazilian Record of 4:38.07 set in 2015. In a tight battle for silver, Florencia Perotti held off Bruna Primati over the freestyle leg to take it in 4:50.75 to Primati’s 4:50.85.

Men’s 400 IM

  1. Brandonn Almeida, Corinthians, 4:13.06
  2. Leonardo Santos, Pinheiros, 4:22.88
  3. Icaro Pereira, FFC/RJ, 4:22.91

Brandonn Almeida dominated the men’s 400 IM field in a time of 4:13.06, just off his season best of 4:12.49 set at the Brazil Open in November. He currently sits in a tie for 8th in Brazil’s FINA point rankings with his swim from November, and this was his opportunity to improve his chances at automatic qualifying for Budapest.

Nearly ten seconds back, Leonardo Santos and Icaro Pereira battled to the wall for 2nd, with Santos holding off the hard charing Pereira for silver by three one-hundredths. Evandro Silva actually turned in 2nd at the 300 wall, but only managed a 1:03.18 coming home to get overtaken by both Santos and Pereira.

Women’s 200 Free

  1. Manuella Lyrio, Pinheiros, 1:57.34
  2. Maria Heitmann, Fiat/Minas, 1:59.91
  3. Gabrielle Roncatto, Unisanta, 2:00.16

Manuella Lyrio of Pinheiros missed her own national record by less than a tenth, winning the women’s 200 free in a time of 1:57.34. Her record of 1:57.28 was set at the 2016 Olympics in the same pool.

Lyrio was well ahead from the get-go, with Maria Heitmann taking the silver over two and a half seconds back in 1:59.91. Gabrielle Roncatto was 3rd in 2:00.16. Youngster Rafaela Raurich, who is eligible for the Junior Worlds, failed to improve her relay lead-off time of 1:59.68 from day 2, but still had a solid showing for 4th in 2:00.52

Men’s 200 Free

  1. Luiz Altamir, Pinheiros, 1:48.16
  2. Fernando Scheffer, GNU, 1:48.65
  3. Giuliano Rocco, Fiat/Minas, 1:48.76

Luiz Altamir pulled away from the field on the third 50, sealing the win in a time of 1:48.16. Fernando Scheffer, who had a 1:47.8 split on the 800 free relay, came in for 2nd in 1:48.65 to out-touch Giuliano Rocco (1:48.76).

Women’s 200 Back

  1. Andrea Berrino, Unisanta, 2:13.11
  2. Fernanda Goeiji, Curtibano, 2:13.33
  3. Gabriela Mello, Corinthians, 2:16.28

Andrea Berrino and Fernanda Goeiji battled hard to the wall, but it was Berrino getting the touch in a time of 2:13.11. That swim set a new Argentine Record for Berrino, who held the previous mark at 2:13.39 from 2014. Goeiji was good for 2nd in 2:13.33, and has all but locked up her spot from the Junior World Championships at the end of the summer.

Men’s 200 Back

  1. Leonardo De Deus, Unisanta, 1:57.95
  2. Nathan Bighetti, Fiat/Minas, 1:59.60
  3. Fabio Santi, Pinheiros, 2:01.30

After his personal best in the 200 fly yesterday, Leonardo De Deus continued his strong showing in Rio with another win in the 200 back, clocking 1:57.95. Nathan Bighetti was the only other man under two minutes.

Women’s 50 Fly

  1. Daynara De Paula, SESI-SP, 26.51
  2. Bruna Lemos, Fiat/Minas, 26.65
  3. Daiene Dias, Unisanta, 26.78

In a very tight race, national record holder Daynara De Paula prevailed in the women’s 50 fly with her time of 26.51. Bruna Lemos and Daiene Dias both got under 27 as well for silver and bronze. This was De Paula’s 5th Maria Lenk title in her career, the third in the 50 fly.

Men’s 50 Fly

  1. Nicholas Santos, Unisanta, 22.61
  2. Henrique Martins, Fiat/Minas, 23.06
  3. Cesar Cielo, Pinheiros, 23.22

Santos’ swim moves him to #1 in the world for the year and is all of a sudden the man to beat at the World Championships. Henrique Martins was just off his morning swim but still good for 2nd in 23.06, while Cesar Cielo knocked over four tenths off from the morning tot take 3rd. Seven of the eight finalists cracked 24 seconds.

Women’s 4×100 Free Relay

  1. SESI-SP, 3:43.48
  2. Unisanta, 3:44.19
  3. Pinheiros, 3:46.06

SESI-SP took the win in the women’s 4×100 free relay with four strong legs, including Etiene Medeiros and Daynara De Paula going 3rd and 4th. There was a timing error so their splits are unavailable, but they brough the team up from 3rd at the halfway mark to first.

Joanna Maranhao had the fastest lead-off in the field for Unisanta at 55.59, and Alessandro Marchioro (55.56) and Gabrielle Roncatto (55.52) had strong 3rd and 4th legs for them. Pinheiros snagged 3rd thanks to Manuella Lyrio‘s 54.65 leg.

Men’s 4×100 Free Relay

  1. Pinheiros, 3:15.35
  2. Fiat/Minas, 3:19.10
  3. Unisanta, 3:19.11

Pinheiros took a decisive win in the men’s 4×100 free relay with top-2 in the individual 100 Gabriel Santos and Marcelo Chierighini leading the way. Santos split 48.22 on the 2nd leg, while Chierighini anchored in 48.62. Pedro Spajari led off in a very respectable 49.24 and Andre Pereira was right there with a 49.27 on the 3rd leg.

Fiat/Minas got the touch by one one-hundredth to beat out Unisanta, as their anchor Henrique Martins (49.00) managed to hold off Unisanta’s Felipe Souza (48.83).

Team Scores


  1. Pinheiros, 910.0
  2. Fiat/Minas, 842.0
  3. Unisanta, 429.5

A pair of wins, including the relay which is worth double points, led the Pinheiros men to a 68 point advantage with one day remaining. Fiat/Minas made the podium in all but one event on the day but recorded no wins, and would need something drastic to happen, like a relay DQ,  for them to beat out Pinheiros.


  1. Pinheiros, 740.0
  2. Unisanta, 675.5
  3. Fiat/Minas, 405.0

Unisanta had a better session overall for women than Pinheiros, but they still trail by 64.5 points heading into the last day. Fiat/Minas is well clear of SESI-SP for 3rd.


  1. Pinheiros, 2010.0
  2. Fiat/Minas, 1567.0
  3. Unisanta, 1475.0

Pinheiros all but has the combined title sewn up, with Fiat/Minas holding a 92 point advantage over Unisanta for 2nd.




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Tea rex
6 years ago

Santos is 37 years old! Wow!

IMs for days
6 years ago

I’m pretty sure Schoemans time is from a short course pool in 2010. Incredible swim, though I wish he swam the hundred as well.

6 years ago

Alright! What a swim!!!
Now if only Cielo could qualify for the 50 free…

Reply to  Cielo#1
6 years ago

We will see today if he does not he is probably qualified on the free relay and he should act as team player.

Jhony Silva
Reply to  Rafael
6 years ago

8 FINA highest fina point its the criteria right? He doesnt even make into it.

Jhony Silva
Reply to  Cielo#1
6 years ago

Might have to go very fast in order to do that so

6 years ago

My Lord, this guy is amazing!!!!! Absolutely crushing swim! Best of luck to him at the World Champs!

Jhony Silva
Reply to  N P
6 years ago

Omg! have you seen the video? Flawless start! Old men strength!

Reply to  Jhony Silva
6 years ago

where is the video?

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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