With no rest for the weary, the two stars of the Spanish program Mireia Belmonte-Garcia and Aschwin Wildeboer were back in the pool just a week after the European Short Course Championships to contend the Spanish Winter Short Course Championships.
Belmonte-Garcia is an absolute machine in short course, and she showed that again at this meet. She backed way off of her record-setting performance at Euro’s, but still swam over half-a-dozen races and took wins in them all.
She kicked her meet off with a new Championship Record in the 100 IM in 1:00.83, and was just .03 away from her own National Record set in April. The other medalists were the future of Spanish IM’ing, Patricia Ortega(only 19) and Marina Urzainqui (only 17), with Urzainqui breaking the 17-year-olds record in 1:02.90.
Urzainqui had a heck of a meet herself, and also broke the age group record in the 100 breast in 1:07.30.
Belmonte Garcia also took winws in the 200 fly (2:05.04), the 200 IM (2:08.00), and the 400 IM (4:31.99). She further showed a little bit of sprinting chops with marks of 25.09 in the 50 free and 53.79 in the 100 free, both off of rolling starts. Given how far she was off of her Sczeczin times in her other races, she could be a very solid relay anchor were Spain able to put three other pieces around her.
As for Wildeboer, her club teammate, he also came down pretty far off of his times, but still swept his individual events. He took wins in all three backstrokes, most notably the 100 in 51.22, as well as the 100 free in 48.51. He tacked on a few relay wins with his C.N. Sabadell teammates.
Those two didn’t hold up their tapers too spectacularly, but several of their countrymates swam extremely fast on their repeat taper.
Melania Costa-Schmid was the superstar of the meet as she cleaned house from the 100 through the 800 freestyles, and set meet records in all four races. She took the 100 in 53.58, the 200 in 1:54.37 (just .06 from her National Record set last weekend), 4:00.19 in the 400 free (.02 off of her mark from last weekend), and the 800 free in 8:14.95 – a lifetime best.
In that 800, she knocked off handily Erika Villaecija-Garcia, the National Record holder, who was 2nd in 8:25.79.
Florida freshman phenom Eduardo Solaeche had a solid meet and picked up a National Championship in the 200 IM in 1:58.21. He also picked up a silver medal in the 400 IM in 4:12.85, which left him just behind Carlos Gomis (4:12.53).
Both of those swims stand among Solaeche’s three-best of his career. This means that he didn’t taper fully for this meet, but maybe put in a few days of rest. It will be interesting to see how that plays out at season’s end, or if maybe the extra work on short course swimming has simply just improved Solaeche’s 25-meter times that much.
In other action, National-Record holding butterflier Rafael Munoz was solid in the butterfly sprints, taking wins in both the 50 and the 100. The 100 is where he’s focused this year, despite having made his name in the 50. Munoz missed the World Championships roster this summer, which was a huge disappointment for him, and he’s back and looking sharp. His 100 fly time of 51.89 is easily better than he was last weekend in Poland and is the fastest he’s ever been in textile.
The World Ranking of that swim isn’t that high (39th), but Munoz is likely training through to try and stave off another disappointment in London qualifying. He wasn’t quite as good in the freestyles, including a 3rd-place finish behind Wildeboer in 48.60 (don’t forget that he’s a National Record holding freestyler as well). Munoz still look as though he was one of the world’s biggest benefactors of the suits.
Villaecija-Garcia took a win in the women’s 1500 in 16:05.96. Second behind her in 16:08.80 is 17-year old Claudia Dasca Romeu, which is a new National Age Group record. Maria Vidal broke the 15-year olds record in 16:25.45 for 3rd.
The Spanissh women are very good at a few things – mostly the distance freestyles and the IM’s – and they seem to be influencing the next generation of swimmers. There are a lot of strong young stars coming up through the ranks who match very well the likes of the Villaecijas, Belmontes, and Costa-Schmids, only well-advanced for their ages.
Add to that Beatriz Gomez-Cortes, who broke a 17-year olds record in the 200 IM in 2:12.21 to finish 2nd behind Belmonte. Judit Ignazio also broke the 100 fly record for 17-year olds in 59.47.
Duane de Rocha, who is the best remaining holdover from the once-dominant Real Canoe club, won the women’s 100 back in 48.73. That’s a solid time, but still a full second off of her National Record from a week ago.
Also individually, from the lesser-known names internationally, Concepcion Badillo swam a Meet Record in the women’s 50 breaststroke in 30.90 to jump into the world’s top-20. That’s about 6-tenths from her National Record, but is still faster than any other Spaniard besides herself has ever been.
And finally, two Spanish National Records were broken in by the women of Club Natacion Sabadell – the women’s 400 medley relay and the women’s 800 free relay. Not just the club national records, rather they took down the absolute National Records, including those swum by National Team relays.
The 400 medley quartet of Lydia Morant, Concecpion Badillo, Judit Ignacio, and Mireiea Belmonte swam a 4:00.16 to just sneak ahead of the two-year old mark held by Real Canoe Natacion from 2009.
The superstar squad was the 800, hwoever. Mireia Belmonte, Judit Ignacio, Claudia Dasca, and Lydia Morant lit-up a 7:52.54 to break the old National Record by almost 6 seconds – and the previous record was done in rubber suits, too. A leadoff 1:55.5 from Belmonte got them on the right track, and then every other leg pulled further ahead of World Record pace. Morant, is only 21-years old, but she is already proving herself as a strong relay competitor.