2020 Catalonia Open Championships
The Catalan Swimming Federation is set to host the Catalonia Open Championships this week, running from Thursday, January 16th through to Saturday, January 19th. While it isn’t an official Olympic qualification event, many of Spain’s top swimmers will make appearances as they ramp up for Tokyo 2020.
Defending 200 butterfly Olympic Champion and 2016 400 IM Olympic bronze medalist Mireia Belmonte will be showcasing her talent with an action packed event line-up. Assuming no scratches Belmonte will race the 200, 400, 800 and 1500 freestyle, the 200 fly, and the 200 and 400 IM. A dominant force in Spanish swimming, Belmonte is top seed in the 400 free/IM, 800 free, 1500 free and 200 fly, second seed 200 IM and third seed in 200 free.
24 year old Lidon Munoz represented Spain at the 2018 SC Worlds, as well as 2019 Worlds and will soon be vying for a spot on the 2020 Spanish Olympic team. Munoz has risen to be one of Spain’s top sprinters and recently had a stellar performance at the 2019 Spanish Short Course Swimming Championships where she won 8 gold medals and broke 5 national records. Munoz is back in the pool this weekend, seeded first in the 50 free, 50 fly, 50 back and 100 back. She’s also in the 200 free, seeded second behind Ainhoa Campabadal Amezcua.
Belmonte and Munoz will be joined by 2016 Olympians Jessica Vall and Martina Garcia, who will also be in attendance. Vall and Garcia both swam the 200 breast at 2019 World Champs and will go head to head in that same event, seeded 1st and 2nd, respectively. At Worlds, Vall made it to the semi-final, finishing in 16th, with Garcia coming 19th in the heats. Vall is also entered as top seed in the 50 and 100 breaststrokes.
On the men’s side 2016 Olympic finalist Joan Lluis Pons is slated to have an incredibly busy meet, entered in nine individual events. Pons came eighth in the 400 IM in Rio and will be the favourite to win that same event this weekend, seeded first by over six seconds. Adding to the 400 IM, Pons’ additional entries and seeds include 200 IM (1), 200 fly(2), 400 IM(1), 200 back(3) 200 breast(4), 100 fly(7), 800 free(10), and 400 free(11).
The men’s mid-distance & distance events are highlighted by 2016 Olympian Miguel Duran and Albert Escrits Manosa. Duran is the top seed in the 200 and 400 freestyles, and second in the 800. He will face stiff competition in the 400 and 800 from Manosa, who will go in as top seed in the 800 and third in the 400. Manosa will also swim the 1500 as top seed; the event in which he placed 4th at the 2019 World University Games.
Other notable names to look out for this weekend are 2016 Olympians Melani Costa, Jimena Perez, Judith Ignacio, Africa Zamorano, and Antonio Arroyo.