Back Half Mastery: Watch Mireia Belmonte’s 4:18.94 Short Course 400 IM


On day 2 of the FINA World Cup Eindhoven, Spaniard Mireia Belmonte blasted a new world record in the women’s short course 400 IM event. Scorching a gold medal-winning time of 4:18.94, Belmonte overtook Katinka Hosszu’s previous record of 4:19.46 to become the first woman ever under the 4:19 mark.

Watch as the exciting race unfolds below, with Belmonte sitting about 3 seconds behind in 2nd place through 200m, only to take things up to a new level on the back half.


As originally reported:

We’ve been seeing World Records of the sprint variety go down as of late, but tonight Spain’s Mireia Belmontecranked out a new mark in the women’s 400m IM. While competing on day 2 of the World Cup in Eindhoven (SCM), Belmonte scorched the field and blasted a new 400 IM WR of 4:18.94. That eclipses the previous record held by Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu of 4:19.46 set at the 2015 European Short Course Championships.

Belmonte and Hosszu have gone back and forth in owning this 400 IM WR, with the former’s mark of 4:19.86 serving as the time Hosszu surpassed with her 4:19.46 win in Netanya. The duo finished 1-2 in tonight’s race in Eindhoven, however, the race strategy played out very differently for the two elite athletes. At the conclusion of the backstroke leg, Belmonte sat over 2 seconds behind a field-leading Hosszu, with the Spaniard’s split registered at 2:06.46 compared to Hosszu’s clocking of 2:03.79 at the 200m mark.

Belmonte took things to another level during the breaststroke, however, making up that time difference and then some, coming out ahead by almost 3 seconds before holding on to the pole position through the freestyle leg. Behind Belmonte’s new WR of 4:18.94, Hosszu settled for 4:25.18, yet still claimed silver in the race. For Belmonte, her time tonight represents the first time a female swimmer has dipped under the 4:19 threshold in the short course 400 IM event.

Below are the splits for Belmonte/Hosszu for tonight’s race, courtesy of Omega Timing:

Belmonte already holds short course world records across the 400, 800 and 1500 freestyle events, as well as the women’s 200 butterfly. The latter is the race Belmonte won in Rio, giving the Spaniard her first individual Olympic gold medal.

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Swimmer A
6 years ago

Belmonte is a beast. I think she sometimes sits in the shadow of the other European titans, Sjostrom and Hosszu, but Belmonte is pretty insane in of herself.

6 years ago

Man she just owned that back half like … never seen it before

6 years ago

Hmm… Hosszu looks very loose with her kick off the 1st wall (breast leg)…

Reply to  Dee
6 years ago

Hozzu’s 1st and 2nd breaststroke turns were both DQ worthy with a small second fly kick in the mix. I think that’s why they decided not use the underwater view for the third turn.

6 years ago

Mireia has such joyful expressions and body language when she wins a big race.

Don’t think I’ve ever seen her do the Front Double-Biceps Pose while sitting on the lane line (like Iron Lady does).

Cayley Guimarães
6 years ago

Hosszu hasn’t been the same since the Olympics…

Reply to  Cayley Guimarães
6 years ago

Well she’s accomplished whats shes wanted to accomplish

tea rex
6 years ago

Belmonte had a fantastic swim. Huzzah!

I wonder what happened to Hosszu though. Maybe she was playing around with her pacing too much?
No way she should get beat by almost 10 seconds on the back half, even by a swimmer as good as Belmonte.

Cayley Guimarães
Reply to  tea rex
6 years ago

I don’t think she was playing with her pace, because she was right on mark of her old record….

Hello SwimSwamSwum
Reply to  Cayley Guimarães
6 years ago

I think she kind of gave up during the freestyle. Belmonte’s a distance freestyler, and can still have enough energy to blast out the last 75 free. So she planned to just hold off Ella Eastin of USA?

6 years ago

Great swim. Insane breaststroke leg.
I find it interesting how on the freestyle she chooses to breath on one side for the first half of each lap and then change sides at the half way mark.

Years of Plain Suck
6 years ago

Very nice swim by Ella Eastin for third. She nearly got the Iron Lady at the end. It’s a real shame she didn’t get to show her talents in Budapest — she very likely would’ve been on the podium in the 400IM.

Hosszu looked gassed in the breast. Probably the cumulative fatigue from carrying the weight on a nation on her shoulders at Worlds.

Reply to  Years of Plain Suck
6 years ago

It took a 4:32 to get onto the podium in Budapest right? Was that Eastin’s best time this summer at Trials?

stanford fan
Reply to  LoneStarState
6 years ago


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Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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