Brazil’s Maria Lenk Trophy meet has no shortage of big international names as we reported last week, but with start lists now released, we now know exactly where the biggest icons will match up.
Brazilian star Thiago Pereira is swimming a predictably full lineup, as is Hungarian international Katinka Hosszu. Pereira has got a whole host of races in his home country, including the 200 and 400 IMs, 100 and 200 backs and 100 fly. Hosszu, meanwhile, will crash the Brazilian party to swim the 200 IM, 400 IM, 200 back and 200 fly.
Cesar Cielo is manning his typical sprint races – he’ll contend for the 50 free, 50 fly and 100 free titles, though he is not entered in the 100 fly. Those sprint freestyle races look like some of the most entertaining of the meet, with names like Cielo, Bruno Fratus, rising Brazilian phenom Matheus Santana, Auburn sprinters Marcelo Chierighini and Arthur Mendes and double-NCAA champ Joao de Lucca all in the mix.
Dutch swimmer Femke Heemskerk is another big international name, coming off the Eindhoven Cup in her home country last weekend. She’s got a full lineup herself, with the 100 and 200 frees plus the 50 back and 200 IM. Her countrywoman Inge Dekker is entered in sprints, where she’ll tangle with Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen-Gray.
While those foreigners will certainly add drama to the meet, they’re not being wholeheartedly welcomed by all members of the Brazilian swimming community. The Maria Lenk meet serves as the Brazilian National Championships, but it’s also tradition for the major clubs to bring in foreign athletes to put up points in the prestige-fueled team competition. However, Brazil’s Pinheiros Club has taken legal action to bar international swimmers from competing at the meet – Pinheiros argues that the foreign athletes come to Brazil on vacation visas (not work visas) and shouldn’t be allowed to “work” while in Brazil.
So far the Brazilian swimming federations (CBDA) has refused to honor Pinheiros’s requests, claiming that swimming in Brazil is an amateur sport and that the inclusion of internationals was agreed to in the federations adopted rules. CBDA also criticized Pinheiros for using foreign athletes in the past in the same manner they are now decrying as illegal. It seems like this will be an ongoing issue for future years, but shouldn’t impact the swimming at the 2014 Maria Lenk Trophy.