Since the inception of the FINA Short Course World Championships in 1993 there have only been two countries other than the United States and Australia that have finished first in the medal standings. The Chinese did it at the inaugural championships, and last week the Brazilians took the top spot in Doha.
This is the first time that Brazil has been in the top three in the medal standings since 1995 where they won three gold, two silver and one bronze.
In Doha they collected seven gold, one silver and two bronze.
They did all of this with missing many of their top swimmers such as Pan Pac gold medalist Bruno Fratus, Pan Pac silver medalist Leonardo de Deus, Olympic silver medalist Thiago Pereira and junior world record holder Matheus Sanatana.
The Brazilians came away with two new world records the first coming when Guilherme Guido, Felipe Silva, Nicholas Santos and Cesar Cielo combined their efforts posting a 1:30.51 in the men’s 4 x 50 medley relay.
The second was set by Etiene Medeiros who took the women’s 50 backstroke in a time of 25.67 breaking Sanja Jovanovic‘s 2009 world record of 25.70. Medeiros becomes the first Brazilian women to win a medal at a world championships.
She also becomes the only Brazilian woman to break a short course world record and only the second to break a world record. Maria Lenk set new world records in both the 200 and 400 breaststroke in 1939.
Cielo looks to be back at close to his best winning the 100 freestyle in a time of 45.75, one one-hundredth of a second off his Brazilian record and finishing third in the 50 freestyle in a time of 20.88. His most impressive moments came in the relay events as he split a 20.08 anchoring the men’s 4 x 50 medley relay and a 44.67 anchoring the men’s 4 x 100 medley relay, event where the Brazilians took gold.
Silva also had an outstanding competition winning the 50 and 100 breaststroke, setting new championship records in both. He also set a new South American record in the 50.
Nicholas Santos took the silver and set a new South American record in the men’s 50 butterfly.
The Brazilians also picked up hardware in the mixed relays, winning gold in the 4 x 50 medley and bronze in the 4 x 50 freestyle.
The country’s latest success in at the 2014 World Short Course Championships is impressive, but it will be interesting to see how they can carry this momentum into the upcoming major international competitions such as the 2015 World Championships in Kazan and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Short course swimming is much different than long course swimming and out of the 10 medals Brazil won at the games five (three gold, one silver and one bronze) were in non-Olympic events.
So what does this success mean? It means that the Brazilians are making some great strides forward and continue to build a strong winning culture. For a team that is looking to perform well on home soil in 2016 it is a step in the right direction, but there is still a lot of work to be done before they will see the same type results in the long course pool.