It’s Olympic Trials season, and Brazil’s Olympic team selection meet is set for April 19-24 at the Maria Lenk Aquatic Center in Rio de Janeiro. This is the only meet where Brazilians can qualify for the team*. It’s a shift from the last two Olympic cycles, where there were two qualification meets in 2016 and seven in 2012.
This week, the Brazilian swimming federation (CBDA) released start lists for the meet.
*In March, the CBDA announced that swimmers who test positive for COVID-19 between March 19 and April 19, the first day of the meet, may be eligible to compete in a time trial closer to the Olympics and make the team.
The meet has been limited to just 120 swimmers to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and some events have entry lists in the single digits as a result.
The men’s sprints are some of the deepest events, with Bruno Fratus leading the 50 free and Marcelo Chierighini atop the 100 free entries. In the 100 free, it’ll be a vicious battle for a spot on the team, with eight men seeded under 49 and 11 more under 50.
The men’s breaststrokes will also be tight, with four under a minute in the 100 breast, led by Joao Gomes, Felipe Lima, Felipe Silva and Caio Pumputis. The Georgia Tech star Pumputis is also top seed in the 200 IM and 200 breast, so he’ll have multiple other avenues onto the team if the field gets away from him here.
On the women’s side, sprinter Etiene Medeiros and breaststroker Jhennifer Conceicao are top talents, while NCAA talents Maria Heitmann (Indiana) and Maria Sumida (Louisville) could add some new faces to the Olympic roster.
The top two finishers in each individual event will qualify for the Games, provided they’re under the FINA ‘A’ cut, and the top four in both the men’s 100 and 200 freestyle will earn a berth on the team. If the fifth-place swimmer is under the ‘A’ cut, he’ll be added as a relay-only athlete.
The top-four finishers in the women’s 100 and 200 free will race the relay time trials and qualify for the Olympic team provided that the relays do.
One extra wrinkle to look out for is that Brazil is holding women’s relay time trials, and one for the mixed medley relay, to try to qualify for Tokyo. This was not initially a publicly planned aspect for the meet when it was originally set for spring 2020.