Brazilian veteran Nicholas Santos is living one of the best moments of his career. After a 2018 in which he broke the supersuited 50 butterfly SC World Record in a time of 21.75 and he became SC World Champion at the same event, Santos broke last Saturday the South American record in 50 fly in a time of 22.60, also the fastest time in the world this season. The 39-year-old achieved this feat at the FINA Champions Swim Series in Budapest.
In the press conference held the day before the competition, SwimSwam had the pleasure to interview Santos, who he explained us his secret for performing at this level well past the age that most swimmers peak at, and why he is absent from the Brazilian roster for the World Championships.
“I just work high intensity and I push hard the weights, I do high intensity in the water. I need to have more attention on what I eat and do specific sets in the water, that’s it. (…) I have to trust in my body, and I don’t know if I will compete next year, or maybe at the end of this year“, explained Santos.
Santos didn’t appear in the Brazilian World Championships roster released by the Brazilian federation (CBDA) in April. Despite having swum an impressive time of 22.77 in the 50 fly at the Brazil Trophy, the qualifying meet for Worlds, the CBDA didn’t use the stroke 50s for selection. As announced in the qualifying criteria, only the swimmers that would swim under the minimum time standards in Olympic events (excluding then 50 fly, 50 breast and 50 back), would qualify to swim this summer in Gwangju.
“No, for now I won’t go to Worlds, it’s a new rule in Brazil, they just call for swimmers that swim Olympic events, so I am out of this competition. It’s a problem because this is not an Olympic year, we have this event at World Championships. Let’s see what happens, maybe an invitation from FINA, we’ll see what happens in maybe two weeks from now.“, commented Santos regarding his qualification status for Worlds.
He also explained that Julio Maglione, the president of FINA, told him personally that they were working in his case, as the CBDA didn’t seem too open to include him in the national team for Worlds. Therefore, there is a chance that he can get a special invitation from FINA to swim the 50 fly in Gwangju next July.
Later he mentioned that he hoped to swim faster in Budapest than in the first stop of the FINA Champions Series in Guangzhou, where he won gold in a time of 23.01. He also showed confidence in the possibility of breaking the South American record in the Duna Arena, what indeed happened the day after.
Talking about his plans for the upcoming Olympic year, Santos added: “I will talk with my coach, and probably after here I will start a new program to swim the 50 free for the next year. The 50 freestyle was my original event when I was younger, so I’ll try to swim this event, I think it’s better than my 100 butterfly.”