Belmonte To Swim 400 IM, 800/1500 Free In Tokyo, Won’t Defend 200 Fly Title

According to the official entry list for Tokyo 2020, Spain will send 9 swimmers to the Olympic Games this summer.

Tokyo 2020 Spanish Olympic Roster

The biggest name on the roster is the 2016 Olympic gold medalist in the 200 butterfly Mireia Belmonte. Belmonte swam to gold at the Rio Olympics in a 2:04.85, adding to her 2012 silver medal in the event. Belmonte also won silver in the 800 freestyle in 2012 and took bronze in the 400 IM in 2016. The quadruple Olympic medalist, however, won’t be racing the 200 fly after failing to qualify in the event for Tokyo and will instead race the 800 and 1500 freestyles along with the 400 IM.

Belmonte holds both Spanish national records in the distance events at an 8:18.55 from the 2016 Olympics and a 15:50.89 from the 2017 World Championships. Her season-bests in the 2 events thus far, however, sits at 8:32.61 in the 800 and a 16:05.02 in the 1500. Belmonte placed 8th in the final of both events at the 2019 World Swimming Championships with an 8:25.51 and 16:02.10. She also has the national record in the 400 IM which sits at a 4:31.21 from back in 2013. She won bronze in 2016 in the 400 IM with a 4:32.39 and finished 13th in the event at the 2019 Games with a 4:42.16.

The Spanish women’s Olympic roster this year will actually feature all 6 women who represented the nation at 2019 Worlds. Jessica Vall and Jimena Perez both pulled off 11th place finishes in Gwangju in the 200 breast and 800 free, respectively. Vall was a 1:07.46 in the 100 breaststroke semi-final, trailing her 1:06.44 from 2017 while Perez was an 8:32.38 in the 800.

Spain’s top finisher at 2019 Worlds was Joan Lluis Pons Ramon who placed 4th in the men’s 400 IM in a 4:13.30 just behind Lewis Clareburt’s 4:12.07 for bronze. That swim for Pons Ramon was a new national record in the event and was a bit quicker than the 4:13.55 he posted at the Rio 2016 Olympics for 8th place overall. His best time this season is a 4:14.16 which he swam for a 7th place finish at the recent 2021 European Swimming Championships.

Hugo Gonzalez also raced 2019 Worlds in the men’s 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke, and 200 IM. His top finish was in the 200 backstroke where he placed 31st overall in a 2:01.84. He won’t race that event in Tokyo and will instead stick to the 100 back and 200 IM. Nicolas Garcia Saiz will race the 200 backstroke instead and is the only member of the Spanish Olympic team who didn’t race at the 2019 World Championships. He’s entered with 1:57.06 in the event which he hit in March 2021 to get within 3 seconds of Aschwin Wildeboer’s 1:54.92 national record from 2009.

While Spain’s 2020 Olympic contingent has a number of strong competitors, the nation as a whole seems to be in a weaker position than where they were in 2016. 5 years ago Spain had 23 swimmers in Rio including 16 individual entrants and 7 relay-only swimmers. Spain’s men and women both swam the 4×100 and 4×200 freestyle relays compared to this year where they didn’t qualify any relays for Tokyo.

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