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Belmonte Brace With Belting 4:05.77 Record

Apr 1, 2012  - Craig Lord

Spanish Open, Malaga, Day 4 Finals:

Mireia Belmonte, the 21-year-old triple world s/c champion of 2010 coached by Fred Vergnoux at Sabadell, took her potential programme at London 2012 to seven events today. 

The triple world s/c champion left the meet with Olympic berths in the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle, 200m butterfly and the 200m and 400m medley and 4x200m free after two more victories on the fourth and last day of the Open.

First up was a 4:05.77 victory in a 400m freestyle final in which she took down the Spanish record of Melanie Costa, the rival she beat into a second-place 4:07.08, before a follow-up 2:06.95 victory in the 200m butterfly ahead of Judit Ignacio, also Sabadell, on 2:08.59 for a ticket to London 2012. That took to 11 the number of London 2012 qualifiers, with 19 A cuts between them.

Costa's 400m effort was 0.06sec shy of the record she had just lost but good enough for the second Olympic berth for Spain, while Belmonte, 7th best in the world so far this year, improved on the 4:07.10 personal best she established back in January this year. 

The splits: 

  • 1:00.74; 2:02.66; 3:04.46; 4:05.77 Belmonte
  •    59.93; 2:02.34; 3:04.92; 4:07.08 Costa

The bronze went to the winner's Sabadell teammate Lydia Morant, up with the top two at half-way but unable to keep pace after that on her way to a huge best time of 4:09.71, progress from the 4:13.36 pb she clocked in January this year.

For Belmonte, the 400m freestyle marked her third national record in four days, after efforts of 1:57.58 in the 200m freestyle and 4:33.91 in the 400m medley. The 200m 'fly today fell a touch shy of her 2:06.25 best from last year and placed her at 5th in the world so far this year.

Given the might of the opposition she will face in all of her potential events, wise choice will be part of the story of Spain's biggest medal hope at London 2012.

Selectors have yet to confirm the full Spain line up for London 2012 but those assured of a ticket beyond Belmonte and any relays still in the air are:

Juan Miguel Rando, Conchi Badillo, Marina García, Beatriz Gómez, Duane da Rocha, Judit Ignacio, Claudia Dasca, Melanie Costa, Erika Villaécija  and Aschwin Wildeboer.

Other race reports

Men's 400m freestyle

There was no Olympic qualifier, the race going to Marc Torrens Sanchez, a 19-year-old from Sabadell, in 3:56.58, ahead of 21-year-old Alex Garcia Sanchez, on 3:57.27.

Men's 200m butterfly

Carlos Peralta, 17, claimed victory in 2:00.76, just inside the personal best he clocked at European junior championships last year. The silver went to Albert Puig in 2:01.21, the bronze to half-way leader Alexis Marquez of Venezuela, on 2:01.88.

Women's 200m backstroke

Already on the Spanish team for London 2012, Duane Da Rocha, Canie, won by a wide margin in 2:10.00, ahead of respective 2:12.33 and 2:12.42 efforts by Iceland's Eyglo Osk Gustafsdottir and Lydia Morant.

Men's 200m backstroke

Rufino Regueira claimed the crown in 2:00.07 ahead of Italy's Matteo Giordano, on 2:01.77, with third place going to Miguel Rando, already on the London 2012 for the 100m, on 2:03.50.