Brazilian Swimmer Cesar Cielo will not be competing in his home Olympics following a third place finish in the 50-meter free at the 2016 Maria Lenk Trophy.
Disappointment for Cielo
Despite having clocked his 52nd sub-22 in the Freestyle, Cesar Cielo came up short in terms of making the Olympic roster. Having lost out in the 100m freestyle and the 400m freestyle earlier in the meet, Cielo decided to focus all his attention to the 50m, which looked promising having clocked 21.99 in the prelims earlier.
In the final, the Brazilian legend finished behind winner Bruno Fratus and Italo Duarte, which means that he will not have the honor of competing in his native country at this year's Olympic games.
This comes as a bitter blow for the 29-year old as there were early talks that he could be the flag bearer for Brazil during the Opening Ceremony. The realization of this came to fruition during Cielo’s emotional interview.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. Brazil will go with the two best ones, good luck to them, I will cheer the best I can, that is it. I gave my all, I went with my family to the USA. But all the things like the blackout today… Everything affects, but is not an excuse…the two (Fratus and Ítalo) swam very well,the Brazil is good. I, on my part, I want to apologize from all of you, I was beneath the expectations of what I can do. I had a hard year last year, didn’t swim well today. It’s very hard to talk the way I talking today. Life goes on,the Brazil goes well, guys thanks!(…)They(his family) are the reason of all my conquests, Olympic gold, World Record. Sorry, dad, sorry, mother. This time, it didn’t work out.”
The emotional Brazilian also spoke to the crowd and said, “I want to apologize to all of you. I gave it my all.”
Brazil will have other established swimmers such as Thiago Pereira and Joana Maranhão as well as rising stars Larissa Oliveira and Etiene Medeiros. The performance at the Maria Lenk Trophy, which doubled at the Olympic trials, will likely worry rivals and raise expectation amongst the Brazilian home crowd come August.
Pereira who took home a silver medal in the 400m medley, will be expected to rival the likes of Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte in Rio. The Brazilian decided to replace the 400m with the 200m medley and has decided to concentrate his performance on the crawl. He has also swapped breathing sides to raise his speed.
As well as Phelps and Lochte, Pereira will need to outperform other Brazilian Swimmers, such as teammate Henrique Rodrigues. In the final of the 200m on Tuesday April 19, Pereira and Rodrigues tied for the gold in exactly the same time: 1:57.91, just one millisecond behind the third fastest time this year, set by Michael Phelps.