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M50 Breast: Dash To Franca Da Silva

Jul 27, 2011  - Craig Lord

Day 4 finals, Oriental Sports Center, Shanghai

Men's 50m breaststroke 

The title had never been retained. That remains the case, Felipe da Silva (BRA) the new champion of the non-Olympic dash in 27.01, ahead of Fabio Scozzoli (ITA), 27.17, 0.02sec ahead of the defending champion Cameron Van Der Burgh (RSA). The South African had become the first man to break 27sec (textile) in the semis, with Da Silva just 0.05sec. In a nervy final, the pace was a touch slower, the Brazilian gaining from an explosive start that gave him an edge he refused to relinquish. It was the second dash crown for Brazil at these championships, Cesar Cielo having won the 50m butterfly on Monday.

França Da Silva , silver medallist in Rome 2009, jumped aloft the lane rope and thrashed the water in delight - then emerged to say that his victory was forged in the disappointment of 14th place in the 100m semis last Sunday. When his coach Arílson Silva left for the pool the following evening to watch the final, Franca stayed behind in his room. "It wasn't that I wanted to quit," he told reporters. "I was just reflecting on what had happened. When I met my coach, we said the same things to each other. We spoke about how the [result] had changed us. In defeat we grow as a person. The worst defeat can be the biggest victory."

Brazil has had just three world champions in the race pool, Ricardo Prado in the 400 medley in 1982, the two freestyle crowns for César Cielo in 2009 and his 50m butterfly win here on Monday, plus França Da Silva's achievement.

The result:

  • 1. Felipe França Da Silva (BRA) 27.01
  • 2. Fabio Scozzoli (ITA) 27.17
  • 3. Cameron Van Der Burgh (RSA) 27.19
  • 4. Hendrik Feldwehr (GER) 27.41
  • 5. Alexander Dale Oen (NOR) 27.43
  • 6. Mark Gangloff (USA) 27.58
  • 7. Lennart Stekelenburg (NED) 27.65
  • 8. Damir Dugonjic (SLO) 28.00


  • WR (all suits): 26.67 Cameron Van Der Burgh (RSA) Rome July 29, 2009
  • WR (textile):   26.90 Cameron Van Der Burgh (RSA) Shanghai July 26, 2011
  • First man inside 27.00:  Cameron Van Der Burgh (RSA) Shanghai July 26, 2011

World-class stats:

  • World Record wins: Van Der Burgh, 2009
  • Title never retained (Oleg Lisogor, UKR, won 2001, 2007)
  • Biggest margin: James Gibson (GBR) beat Lisogor by 0.18sec in 2003
  • Closest shave: Lisogor beat Brendan Hansen (USA) by 0.03sec in 2007

From the archive:

In the heats at the 2009 world titles in Rome at a time when non-textile suits were allowed, Cameron Van Der Burgh (RSA) set a championship record of 26.92 in heats. Oleg Lisogor's winning 27.66sec at the 2007 championships would have finished 27th in the Rome heats. Lisogor (UKR) emerged to say: "I was a bit shocked in prelims this morning: 25 [26 in fact] people swam faster than I swam two years ago. I don't know how it is possible." The answer rested in a January 1, 2010 ban on non-textile race apparel. The final in Melbourne, 2007, was a tight affair: 27.66 to 28.27. In the year that followed, no fewer than 14 men swam faster than the 2007 title-winning time, and the world record of 27.18 that had stood to Oleg Lisogor (UKR) since 2002 passed to Cameron Van der Burgh (RSA), in 27.06. At Rome 2009 world titles, the South African claimed the crown in a blistering 26.67 in a year that produced 11 sub 27sec performances. In 2010, seven men cracked 27.5; in 2009 31 did it before non-textile booster suits were banned.