“I want to study dance so that one day I can open my own dance studio. I’ve started a degree in nutrition, but I am this close to switching courses and going to physical education. I love dancing, it gives me such a great energy."
The 2018 Sao Paulo World Series meeting gets underway on Thursday (26 April) and Brazil’s Camille Rodrigues is confident of taking the competition by storm in front of the home crowd.
The 26-year-old goes into the World Series having just changed coach, but she says the adaptation process is going much better than expected and she is more than ready for this week’s event. "I’m quick, my times are great, so I’ve got great expectations for this championship,” she said. Rodrigues, an S9 swimmer, will compete in three multi-class events: the 400m freestyle, on Thursday, the 100m backstroke, on Friday, and the 100m freestyle, on Saturday.
In 2015, Rodrigues won four medals at the Toronto Parapan American Games, including golds in the three events she will take part in this week. After the World Series, her sights are firmly set on next year’s Parapans in Lima, Peru – the perfect preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
"It’s a really important competition for us,” she says, about the Parapan Am Games. “With the Paralympics taking place the following year, it lets us know whether we are on the right track."
But Rodrigues is not just a star in the pool, she has also built a huge following on social media, where posts of her showing off her dancing skills have gone viral on a number of occasions. Her fame grew so much so that in 2017, Brazilian pop superstar Anitta invited her to dance on stage during an awards show performance. It was a moment that Rodrigues finds hard to put into words. “Man, it was indescribable,” she gushed. “It was a sensational experience, Anitta is a Brazilian diva."
"I already knew [Anitta's] choreographer, and I heard she had watched my videos and invited me to be a part of her performance. So, of course, I accepted."
While posting her dance videos online began as a hobby, it soon turned into something much more. "I started receiving lots of messages from girls who were afraid to dance, to go out, to wear shorts, it was all so gratifying,” she explains. “Everyone has their bad days, and whenever I’m feeling down I read these messages and it makes me feel like I’m making a difference."
Dancing has become so important to Rodrigues that she intends to pursue a career in the arts once her competing days come to an end. “I want to study dance so that one day I can open my own dance studio. I’ve started a degree in nutrition, but I am this close to switching courses and going to physical education. I love dancing, it gives me such a great energy."
The World Para Swimming World Series has returned for a second year after a successful inaugural edition in 2017. Athletes take part in a number of events across the season, hosted in Europe and the Americas, with the swimmers’ performances ranked on a points scale to determine the final champions.
Daniel Dias, Brazil’s most decorated Paralympian, came away with the 2017 overall men’s title, while Italy’s Monica Boggioni finished in first place among the women. This year’s Series is already underway with events having been held in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Indianapolis, USA, with Sao Paulo marking the third leg of the season-long tournament.
The Sao Paulo edition will take place between April 26 and 28, before heading back to Europe for meetings in Italy, Great Britain, and Germany.
Live results will be available on World Para Swimming’s website.