By Mary Carroll, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Four of Brazil’s new 2012 Olympic swimmers took part in a conference at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London with their fellow athletes; Brazilian Olympic swimmers Cesar Cielo – who is the world record holder in the 100 meter and 50 meter freestyle – Felipe França and Thiago Pereira.
Henrique Rodrigues will compete in the 200m and 400m medley. Rodrigues is confident that his experience in international competitions has prepared him well for the Olympics and he shows no signs of hanging back against the athletes he is up against, such as the legendary American swimmer Ryan Lochte.
“I trained twice at altitude and I think I improved a lot [...] and also in the psychological aspect. Even when tired, you need to have a good outcome.”
Of the newcomers, Leonardo de Deus is tipped as one to watch. The young athlete, who won gold at the Pan American Games Guadalajara 2011, was initially disqualified because of the sponsor’s logo on his swim cap, however after appealing the decision he was reinstated as gold medalist.
De Deus will be up against the one of America’s top athletes, Michael Phelps, who already has an astonishing fourteen Olympic medals. It does not seem to have shaken De Deus’s confidence. “I am at my first Olympics, but I trained a lot, I’m stronger and I hope to compete stroke by stroke in the pool, regardless of who is at my side. At my age, I’m at a stage where I’m fearless” assures de Deus.
Taking part in the 4×100 relay is Marcelo Chieriguini. Chieriguini also had an optimistic approach, he believes it will be down to the best man on the day and “Anything can happen.”
Twenty-seven year old Daniel Orzechowsk will compete in 100m backstroke and he specializes in the 50m backstroke but he had to work hard to bring his 100m time up to the standard of other competitors. “The 50m race has always been more natural to me, I swam in the race in Rome. It gives me a more natural passage in the 100m.”
Read more (in Portuguese).
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