By Olivia Sandusky

Redemption is a powerful thing.

Cesar Cielo is now 30, verging on old in swimming terms. He is perhaps the best racer in Brazilian history.

The country has 14 Olympic swim medals. Cielo has three, including the only gold. The only one, ever.

Despite his world records in the 100- and 50m freestyles, Cielo’s swim journey has hardly been easy.

Cielo has dealt with, among other challenges, knee surgeries and shoulder injuries that he pushed through in order to reach the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics. With an entire country rooting for him, Cielo’s goal was to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics and take home another gold medal.

The chance to hear the Brazilian people cheering his name became a tangible dream. It did not happen. In qualifying, he came up short by nine-hundredths of a second.

What to do? Where to go from there? How to recover?

“You can't really keep beating yourself up like that,” Cielo said here Sunday night.

“I mean, this is how the sport works. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.” And: “Don’t make it bigger than it is. Try to keep it as simple as you can. Overthinking is the enemy of execution. Keep it simple and have fun.”

This was after he was, again, a winner — and in the only significant race in his long career in which he had not earned a medal, the men’s 4x100 freestyle relay. In a thrilling finish, the Brazilians, closing on the Americans, took silver, touching in 3:10.34.

Nathan Adrian, swimming anchor, had just enough to win it for the United States, in 3:10.06, holding off Brazil’s Bruno Fratus. Cielo swam Brazil’s third leg. Brazil had not won a medal in the 4x100m relay at the worlds since 1994, at the Olympics since 2000. Without Cielo on the Brazilian team last year at the Games in Rio, the Brazilian 4x100m relay managed only fifth.

It was fun having Cesar with us in the pool tonight,” said teammate and Auburn alum Marcelo Chierighini, who turned in a 46.85 split, third-fastest ever in a textile suit.

We had a rough Olympics last year and our country was having a tough time switching presidents, so I think this is a good step for the next generation,” Chiergihini added.

“With this team and guys like Cesar we are showing younger generations the future can be bright.” Chierighini said, “If you aren’t able to put everything you can on the line, then somebody will take your spot,” adding,

“Last year was tough, but I’m back and I’m ready to be a part of this comeback.”