Belmonte’s Boyfriend Accuses One of Her Teammates of Foul Play

On Saturday at the FINA Open Water Olympic Qualifying event in Setubal, Portugal there was one spot on the Spanish Olympic team up for grabs and two swimmers who were in contention; Mireia Belmonte and Erika Villaécija.Villaécija finished 14th, earning the right to swim the 10km event in Rio while Belmonte finished 28th.

A picture of Belmonte after the race showed that she suffered a blow to the face that resulted in a black eye. The picture was posted by Belmonte’s boyfriend Olympic rower Javier Hernanz accusing one of her teammates of unsportsmanlike conduct stating, “The competition among athletes from the same country raises the level. But use is punishable unsportsmanlike techniques” 

Physical contact in open water swimming is commonplace because of the structure of the events, but observers of the race on the weekend have said the contact between swimmers was overly aggressive compared to other competitions of its kind. is reporting that after Hernanz’s allegations were made public that, although her name was never mentioned, Villaécija threatened legal action.

This prompted Belmonte to let her take on the incident be known in a series of tweets:

“My opinion of all the controversy that has been created: the open waters is a discipline where there is a lot of contact with swimmers,”

“as they swam all very attached . The blows that occur occasionally can be intentional or accidental.”

“In my case I want to believe it was an act done without malice , since it must always prevail clean sport.”

Although Belmonte will not be in the 10 km event in Rio she will be vying for medals in the 400 and 800 freestyle, the 200 butterfly as well as the 200 and 400 IM at her third Olympics.

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Tomás Lorca
7 years ago

This is a rather strange incident. Here we can see a photo of the two swimmers taken immediately after the race.

7 years ago

Bu wait, doesn’t this seem a little bit suspicious? #illuminaticonfirmed

7 years ago

This always happens in open water swimming. So many people aiming for the inside line, no lane lines. I remember my first punch to the face at GB Open Water Champs – still had to swim 5km with a bleeding nose!!

7 years ago

Um… welcome to OW swimming. That is how it goes in the sport. Right or wrong, it has always been this way, and the Portugal race was not extraordinary in that manner.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Francene
7 years ago

Sorry to hear Mireia got smacked like that. I do not, however, agree that it has “always” been that way, & here’s why. More than 50 years ago there was the Professional Marathon open water Swimming Association. Having swim very long distance (including a 10 mile race decades ago) myself & having contemplated a career in that particular swimming specialty despite the meager financial offerings & opportunities 45 years ago, I do not recall stories of much fisticuffs or elbow-throwing at that time. There really just weren’t that many swimmers for such distances. It was not glamorous, just like it really isn’t (sad to say) now. I DO recall, however, & must mention about Abdellatief Abouheif, the large-hearted, generous, &… Read more »

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
7 years ago

Apologies for an error above – this sentence near the end about Sandra Bucha should read: “She was an attorney / prosecutor in Illinois whose efforts were instrumental in gaining sports opportunities for women in the 1970’s, the Title IX era, & significantly before FINA finally embraced marathon swimming nearly two decades later.” My mouse deselected the missing text.

7 years ago

That is a nasty bruise! But maybe Belmonte can perform better in the pool without worrying about that 10k.

Just a few corrections to the translations which were a little too literal on some parts:

“My opinion of all the controversy that has been created: the open waters is a discipline where there is a lot of contact (between) swimmers,”

“ (since we all swim so close together) . The blows that occur occasionally can be intentional or accidental.”

“In my case I want to believe it was an act done without malice, since (it should always prevail a) clean sport.”

I never hear people use prevalecer colloquially, but I’m not from Spain and they speak Spanish pretty properly, so… Read more »

Southern Mom
7 years ago

I originally thought someone had been killed. This is still bad, but I’m glad nobody is dead.

About Jeff Grace

Jeff Grace

Jeff is a 500 hour registered yoga teacher who holds diplomas in Coaching (Douglas College) and High Performance Coaching (National Coaching Institute - Calgary). He has a background of over 20 years in the coaching profession, where he has used a unique and proven teaching methodology to help many achieve their …

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