Passages: Joana Neves, Brazilian Paralympic Medalist, Age 37

Photo Courtesy: Andy Ross

Passages: Joana Neves, Brazilian Paralympic Medalist, Age 37

Joana Neves, a Brazilian swimmer who won five medals over the last three Paralympic Games, died on March 18. She was 37 years old.

Her passing was confirmed by SADEF RN, her club in Brazil. Neves, full name Joana Maria Jaciara da Silva Neves Euzébio, went into cardiac arrest while in Sao Paolo undergoing tests to diagnose the cause of recent seizures. She had been in at the Paralympic Training Center.

The Brazilian Ministry of Sport and the Brazilian Paralympic Committee both posted remembrances of Neves. The Ministry of Sport posted a lengthy note of condolence.

Neves won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Paralympics in the S5 50 butterfly. She won three medals before her home county four years later in Rio, including silver in the S5 50 free, bronze in the S5 100 free and mixed freestyle relay silver.

Neves added a relay bronze in Tokyo in 2021.

She won a pair of gold medals, including in the S5 50 free, at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow. She won two gold and 11 total medals at Worlds. Neves’ first World Championships was all the way back in 2010.


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Neves finished eighth in the final of the S5 100 free and fourth in the S5 50 fly at the Paris Paralympics. She competed at the 2022 World Para Swimming Championships in Portugal, where she won silver in the S5 50 free and two bronze medals, one in an Americas record.

A native of Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Neves was born with achondroplasia, a condition that affects bone growth. She began swimming on a doctor’s recommendation and connected with SADEF (Sociedade Amigos do Deficiente Físico do Rio Grande do Norte). She was known by her nickname, Peixinha, the little fish.

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