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Belmonte Reunited With Vergnoux

Jan 21, 2013  - Craig Lord

Mireia Belmonte, double Olympic silver medallist and triple world s/c champion, will continue to train with French coach Fred Vergnoux at Sabadell under a deal with the Catholic University of Murcia (UCAM).

In an interview in Madrid with EFE, the Spanish agency, Belmonte admitted that she had lived through "dark times" since London 2012 over her expulsion from Sabadell because of alleged "disrespectful" behaviour towards teammates and officials at a club function last year.

The new arrangement gives Belmonte time to recover and prepare for a home world championships in Barcelona come July.

Belmonte signed the new deal in the head office of the Olympian Committee of Spain: the agreement with the Catholic University of Murcia (UCAM) will allow the Olympic 200m butterfly and 800m freestyle silver medallist to combine her business management course and train at Barcelona's Sabadell with Vergnoux, her mentor on the way to  the Games.

The signing was presided over by head of the OC, Alejandro Blanco, and the president of the UCAM, José Luis Mendoza. Belmonte praised Mendoza for having come up with a solution that worked for all parties.

Belmonte is the only swimmer born and coached in Spain throughout her career to have made the Olympian podium in swimming, the Spanish media likes to point out. Martin Lopez Zubero became Olympic200m  backstroke champion at a home Games in Barcelona in 1992, though he was raised and coached in the US.

Belmonte spent time at Nice with coach Fabrice Pellerin and team after her expulsion from Sabadell but she preferred to return to Spain.

On her prospects for Barcelona 2013 worlkds, Belmonte said: "I'm going to have to see how I get on in racing again given that I've missed four months. Firstly, I have to do the qualification time though I think I can make that."

The biggest pressure she felt was the that she put herself under, she noted. On her time in Nice, she said there was nothing wrong with Nice swim club and programme but added: "I was not comfortable abroad. I was not comfortable living alone in a foreign country, far from my family and friends, and I preferred being home."