Nicholas Santos Breaks Own Record As Oldest World Champion At Age 42


Brazilian Nicholas Santos has done it again. At 42 years of age, Santos has become the oldest world champion in history.

While competing in tonight’s 50m butterfly final at the 2022 FINA Short Course World Championships, Santos repeated as the victor in the two-lap race. And, he did it with one of the fastest times ever recorded.

Santos stopped the clock in a time of 21.78 to get to the wall first ahead of Swiss Olympic medalist Noe Ponti and tonight’s 3rd place finisher Szebasztian Szabo of Hungary. Ponti secured silver in 21.96 while Szabo was right there in 21.98 to round out the top 3.

Santos’ 21.78 effort falls just .03 outside of his own World Record mark of 21.75 from 2018, a record he shares with Szabo who also logged a 21.75 in 2021.

Last year in Abu Dhabi, Santos became the oldest world champion at 41 years of age when he topped this men’s 50m fly podium in a time of 21.93. So somehow this seemingly unstoppable Brazilian managed to age a year but also drop .15 as a result.

Career-wise, Santos is responsible for the top 5 men’s SCM 50m butterfly performances in history.

All-Time Men’s SCM 50 Butterfly Performances

#1 Nicholas Santos (BRA)/Szebasztian Szabo (HUN) – 21.75 2018/2022
#3 Nicholas Santos (BRA) – 21.78 2020/2022
#4 Nicholas Santos (BRA)/Steffen Deibler (GER) – 21.80 2020/2009
#5 Nicholas Santos (BRA) 21.81 2021

When Santos earned his 2021 world title he was already the oldest man to win a World Championships medal from when he earned won silver in the 50 fly at the 2017 LC World Championships. Then, at the age of 38, Santos broke the SCM World Record in the 50 fly with his 21.75 at the 2018 FINA Swimming World Cup – Budapest.

Santos has all but said these Short Course World Championships would be his last, indicating earlier this year that the Jose Finkel Trophy in September would be his final meet on Brazilian soil. 

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1 year ago

So we all agree this is suspiciously crazy, right?

homey looking skinny
1 year ago

dont understand how he keeps the nosebridge on his swedes so short

1 year ago

I know this is supposed to be his last meet, but he should try to stick it out just a few more months to LC Worlds. With Dressel very likely out (or at the very least, not 100%), he has a pretty clear path to end his career with his first LC Worlds gold.

Tracy Kosinski
1 year ago

Age is really just a number in a 50!

Mr Piano
1 year ago

There’s no way in hell he’s clean, I don’t get why you guys think he is.

Tracy Kosinski
Reply to  Mr Piano
1 year ago

Huh? Did he ever pop positive?

Reply to  Tracy Kosinski
1 year ago

Actually, yes.

Boxall's Railing
1 year ago

Anyone else feel like Santos went noticeably past 15m off the start? One video below (and sure, the angle is what it is) but seems clear that he was past/ the mark was at his hip when he popped up. Or am I missing something/ is this somehow in alignment with rules at this meet?

Last edited 1 year ago by Boxall's Railing
Reply to  Boxall's Railing
1 year ago

I can sort of see what you’re seeing, but I also think I see his head pop up at 15.

1 year ago

Mr. Furosemide

Steve Wierhake
Reply to  SWIMDOG
1 year ago

Why would he take a diuretic?

Reply to  Steve Wierhake
1 year ago

to mask steroid use. common practice and on the WADA prohibited list I believe

1 year ago

I don’t know how he does it. He knows how to do just enough to get a lane and then just destroys everyone in the final. Amazing.

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Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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