Viviane Jungblut Skips Brazilian Olympic Trials to Aid Recovery Efforts After Deadly Flooding

Having already qualified for the Paris Olympics in open water swimming, Viviane Jungblut decided to skip this week’s Brazilian Olympic Trials in Rio de Janeiro to support rescue and recovery efforts after deadly floods devastated her home state of Rio Grande do Sul.

At least 136 people have been killed in the floods as of Saturday, with another 125 missing and 537,000 displaced. The 27-year-old Jungblut is raising funds for her local Gremio Nautico Uniao swim club along with her efforts on the ground. With more rain in the forecast, many are worried that the situation could get even worse.

Jungblut qualified for the Paris Olympics with her 14th-place finish in the women’s 10km at February’s World Championships in Doha, Qatar. She competed at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics in the 800-meter freestyle (8:38.88, 24th) and 1500 free (16:21.29, 20th) before making finals in both events at the 2022 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. She still holds the Brazilian national record in the 800 free (8:19.57) from the 2016 Jose Finkel Trophy.

Jungblut won bronze medals at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, but her primary focus over the past year has been on open water swimming. She told RSP Sports that it wasn’t in her plans to contest any pool events in Paris this summer.

Jungblut was joined by several Brazilian athletes in the recovery efforts, including others who sacrificed Olympic qualifying opportunities. Lightweight double sculls rowers Evaldo Becker and Piedro Tuchtenhagen dropped everything to dedicate their time to distributing aid across Rio Grande do Soul.

“I didn’t even think twice,” Becker said. “It was my last chance to get to the Olympics. I was excited. But the flood waters took my dream away just as it took lives.”

Former Brazilian Olympic swimmer Nicholas Santos contributed to rescue work along with high-profile surfers such as Olympic champion Italo Ferreira and big-wave stars Lucas “Chumbo” Chianca and Pedro Scooby.

“Our team came in strong, putting all the experience from the big wave surfing and difficult water from Nazare and all the big-wave places,” Chianca said. “We were trying to save lives, just trying to help out everybody here.”

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15 days ago

Thank you! Great to see and I hope others follow the example. There sacrifices are better than a gold medal.

SHRKB8
16 days ago

Yes, what a stellar human being 🙌.

Rafael
16 days ago

Her brazilian record was 8:29, not 8:19
And mafe broke it yesterday

surswim
Reply to  Rafael
15 days ago

Short course record is 8:19, from 2016.

Aragon Son of Arathorne
16 days ago

that’s very noble of her. Did I read this right in that she big wave surfs or has just worked on this effort with big wave surfers?

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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