Courtesy of Ricardo Ratto, Reserva Santa Rita da Lagoa Azul, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil continues to get worse. 16 of 26 Brazilian states were at or above 90% in terms of its ICU occupancy, and every day has seen a record in terms of the number of deaths. In the last 10 days, about 25% of all coronavirus deaths worldwide have been recorded in Brazil. Things are bad, very very bad.
In the midst of all that sadness, frustration, hospitalization and death, the country battles on. Brazilians are trying to to carry on as best they can.
And that includes selecting its best athletes who want to represent Brazil at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
But the last few weeks have been hectic for Brazil’s top swimmers and coaches. Their plans to hold a national selection meet was postponed, then cancelled. The CDBA (or the Confederação Brasileira de Desportos Aquáticos) began to scramble and negotiate with a variety of alternative venues, but due to the pandemic and crisis throughout Brazil, acceptable venues that would grant access to swimmers, coaches and officials were extremely difficult to find.
Ricardo Ratto finally reported only days before the men’s race opened up the Olympic selection race. “We found a private property that was willing to host the athletes and the event in Barra do Piraí in Rio de Janeiro. The lake – Reserva Santa Rita da Lagoa Azul – lies beside the main Brazilian highway, BR-116 that connects Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. We were allowed to set up a 2.5 km loop course where the athletes raced four laps. Due to the pandemic, this was the only place available throughout Brazil to stage this important competition for our athletes.
Guilherme Costa won, followed by Allan do Carmo, Diogo Vilarinho, Victor Colonese, and Fernando Ponte. Vilarinho held the lead at the 7.5 km, but Costa fast pool speed was too much for the lead pack and he pulled ahead on the last lap. Guilherme and Allan qualified to represent Brazil at the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim trials that will be held in Fukuoka, Japan on May 30th.
The race was officiated by Henrique Borges and was televised by TVN, the official web TV of the Brazilian Olympic Committee. The venue was gorgeous, with the athletes racing in the middle of nature. It was a great place to showcase open water swimmer and these world-class marathon swimmers.“
To watch the replay of the race on TVN Sports in Portuguese, click here.
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