"My only thought right now is just "I did it!" I had been to Toronto 2015 [Parapan American Games] and Rio 2016 [Paralympic Games], but now I am going to Mexico!"
Five Brazilian swimmers guaranteed themselves places at the 2017 World Para Swimming Championships with their heat swims at their home World Series in Sao Paulo on Friday (21 April).
Paralympic multi-medallists Daniel Dias and Andre Brasil will take part of their fifth World Championships, while Patricia Santos and Cecilia Araujo will be making their debuts. Phelipe Rodrigues also secured his place at the Worlds, which take place in Mexico City from 30 September – 6 October.
Nineteen-year-old Araujo could not hide her happiness after her women's 100m freestyle S8 swim: "I am extremely proud of it. I was really nervous before the race, but when I was about to go to the starting block I decided to ignore this feeling and go for it! This was my race!"
Araujo has already represented Brazil in major competitions, but has never qualified for a World Championships. Her swimming career has been helped by the Agitos Foundation, the development arm of the International Paralympic Committee, through workshops and training. Her story was featured in a Road to Rio 2016 video series.
"My only thought right now is just "I did it!" I had been to Toronto 2015 [Parapan American Games] and Rio 2016 [Paralympic Games], but now I am going to Mexico!", she said.
The qualification marks set by the Brazilian Paralympic Committee are benchmarked against the fastest swims of 2016. Cecilia touched in with 1:09.10 - six tenths faster than required.
Fourteen-time Paralympic champion Dias also had a great race. He won the men's 100m freestyle heat in 1:10.83 - more than seven seconds faster than the qualification mark for the S5.
In the men's 100m freestyle S10 the standard was 54:03, and Rodrigues took it with a 52:58 performance, followed by Andre Brasil (53:60).
Santos qualified after winning the women's 100m freestyle S4 in 1:40.30 - three seconds quicker than needed.
Full results are available at the Brazilian Paralympic Committee website alongside live results during the competition.
Following Friday’s heats, the first finals will take place on Saturday (22 April) followed by more heats for Sunday’s (23 April) finals.
Pictures are available at the Brazilian Paralympic Committee’s Flickr.
All races will be run as multi-class events at the Brazilian Paralympic Training Centre. The event doubles as the 2017 Loterias Caixa Swimming Open Championships.
A full schedule and more information can be found at World Para Swimming’s website.