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Belmonte's IM Breakthrough: 4:34.91

Apr 1, 2011  - Craig Lord

Madrid: Spanish Spring Nationals, day 2 finals and semi-finals:

Women's 400m medley

Mireia Belmonte was a league apart from the field on the way to her third victory at nationals in just over 24 hours, a 4:34.91 over 400m medley taking down her own Spanish record by 1.4sec.

Belmonte, winner of the 200m 'fly and 800m free on the first day of action, was never led. The world s/c champion raced well ahead of the best times registered anywhere in the world so far this year to establish herself as one of the favourites for the crown, and certainly a strong medal contender, at world long-course titles in Shanghai this summer.

The splits compared to some other fast swims as a measure of how races can be a roller-coaster:

  • Belmonte 2011:   1:01.19; 2:14.42; 3:32.60; 4:34.91
  • Miley 2010:         1:03.50; 2:13.05; 3:30.42; 4:33.09
  • Hosszu 2010:       1:01.97; 2:11.69; 3:32.21; 4:36.43
  • Hoff 2007:           1:03.91; 2:14.10; 3:29.68; 4:32.89
  • Klochkova 2000: 1:01.62; 2:11.30; 3:30.63; 4:33.59 

Closest to the Spaniard in the world at large so far this season are Lara Grangeon, of France, and Hannah Miley, of Britain, on 4:38.28 and 4:38.47.

In Madrid, the opposition was far further back yet, the silver going to the champion's Sabadell teammate, Claudia Dasca, 16, on 4:43.79, a qualification target for junior selection this summer, and 15-year-old Cristina Garcia, on 4:46.94.

How they measure up:

  • 2010 podium: 4:37.33; 4:40.63; 4:40.82
  • 2011 podium: 4:34.91; 4:43.79; 4:46.94
  • ESP record: 4:36.31 Mireia Belmonte 2010

Best ESP podium result at world titles: no medals

Men's 400m medley

David Verraszto (HUN) looked good to represent his country this summer in Shanghai at world titles after a 4:13.54 victory that compared to a European medal-winning best last summer of 4:12.96.

On splits of 57.89, 2:01.39, 3:13.86 and gold in 4:13.54, the Hungarian, coached by his father Zoltan, the 1975 world 200m backstroke champion, rose to third in the world this season behind the 4:13.37 of Britain's Roberto Pavoni and the 4:13.38 of Olympic 1500m free champion Oussama Mellouli (TUN).

If Verraszto was on season-best pace, he was well up on the opposition in Madrid, the minor medals going to Italian federico Turrini, on 4:19.44, and Eduardo Solaeche, of Canoe, in 4:21.13, a qualifying time to represent Spain as a junior this summer for the 7-year-old.

How they measure up:

  • 2010 podium: 4:14.81; 4:17.70; 4:25.91
  • 2011 podium: 4:13.54; 4:19.44; 4:21.13
  • ESP record all suits: 4:16.98 Javier Nunez 2008
  • ESP pre-2008 best: 4:17.16 Frederik Hviid 1999 

Best ESP podium result at world titles: no medals

Women's 100m breaststroke

Defending champion Marina Garcia, of Real Club Mediterráneo in Málaga, kept her crown in 1:08.36, 0.33sec inside the cut required to place her on the Spain team for world titles in Shanghai this summer. The minor spoils were won some way back, Evelyn Alvarez on 1:10.43, Jessica Vall on 1:10.96.

Although Garcia fell shy of her national mark of 1:07.63, her time today was her best and Spain's best ever by a swimmer in a textile suit.

How they measure up:

  • 2010 podium: 1:08.94; 1:10.85; 1:11.56
  • 2011 podium: 1:08.36; 1:10.43; 1:10.96
  • ESP record all suits: 1:07.63 Marina Garcia 2009
  • ESP textile best: 1:08.92 Marina Garcia 2011

Best ESP podium result at world titles: no medals

Men's 100m breaststroke

Visiting Brazilian Henrique Barbosa took the win in 1:01.43 over the best of Spain last year and this, Melquiades Alvarez, on 1:02.40, the bronze going to Matias Prono in 1:02.75. Barbosa was out in 29.05 and back in 32.38, Alvarez, who in the semis clocked 1:02.24, on 29.23 and 33.17 in the final.

How they measure up:

  • 2010 podium: 1:01.63 HUN; 1:01.96; 1:02.45 ITA
  • 2011 podium: 1:01.43; 1:02.40; 1:02.75
  • ESP record all suits: 1:00.45 Melquiades Alvarez 2009
  • ESP pre-2008 best: 1:01.62 Borja Iradier 2007

Best ESP podium result at world titles: no medals 

Women's 200m freestyle

Agnes Mutina gave Hungary its second win in consecutive finals with a championship record of 1.57.62 (28.10; 57.72; 1:27.79) ahead of Patricia Castro, of Canoe, who on 1:58.88 had to share silver with Palma's Melanie Costa. That locked out Zsuzsanna Jakabos (HUN), in 2:00.72, the Hungarian already having race the 100m butterfly semi.

Mutina had held the meet mark at 1:57.71 since last year, when Castro was the best of Spain on 1:59.46. Castro's best is a 1:58.11, from the European Championships last summer, while Castro today boasts a new lifetime best. 

How they measure up:

  • 2010 podium: 1:57.71 HUN; 1:59.46; 1:59.63
  • 2011 podium: 1:57.62; 1:58.88; 1:58.88 (joint silver)
  • ESP record: 1:58.11 Particia Castro 2010

Best ESP podium result at world titles: no medals

Men's 200m freestyle

Ernesto Acuna, of Sabadell, races for Venezuala and started the day qualifying to the 200m final out in lane 1 on 1:51.22. The 20-year-old will go to bed this evening the best in Spain today, on 1:50.32 for the crown.

In his wake Sabadell teammate and the best Spaniard, Alex Sanchez, on 1:50.91, and, at 33, Massimiliano Rosolino (ITA), racing for Milan, showed up and put in a 1:51.08 effort for bronze. Defending champion Jose Alonso found himself back in 5th on 1:51.55, with a third Sabadell swimmer ahead of him, Eloi Saumell on 1:51.10.

How they measure up:

  • 2010 podium: 1:50.36; 1:51.07; 1:51.32
  • 2011 podium: 1:50.32 VEN; 1:50.91; 1:51.08 ITA; 1:51.10
  • ESP record all suits:  1:48.45 Alex Villaecija 2009
  • ESP textile best: 1:49.09 Olaf Wildeboer 2006 

Best ESP podium result at world titles: no medals

Women's 50m backstroke

Mercedes Peris, of Club Natación Santa Olaya in Gijón, retained her crown in 28.23, precisely the time she had clocked in the semi at the start of the session. The silver went to Duane da Rocha, of Canoe in Madrid, on 28.85, the bronze going to Ane Saseta, on 29.56, also precisely the same time she clocked in the semi.

How they measure up:

  • 2010 podium: 28.60; 29.54; 29.70
  • 2011 podium: 28.23; 28.85; 29.56
  • ESP record: 28.01 Mercedes Peris 2010

Best ESP podium result at world titles: gold - Nina Zhivanevskaya, 2003

Men's 50m backstroke

Defending champion Ashwin Wildeboer, of Sabadell in Barcelona, kept his crown in 25.24 when keeping at bay Miguel Rando, on 25.56, and Brazilian visitor Guilherme Guido, on 25.98.

How they measure up:

  • 2010 podium: 25.56; 25.56; 25.71
  • 2011 podium: 25.24; 25.56; 25.98
  • ESP record all suits: 24.48 Aschwin Wildeboer 2009
  • ESP textile best:  25.35 Miguel Rando 2010

Best ESP podium result at world titles: no medals