Mireia Belmonte Garcia
Born Nov. 10, 1990 Mireia Belmonte Garcia is a versatile Spanish swimmer, specializing in freestyle, IM and butterfly. Born in Barcelona Garcia was already swimming competitively by the age of 5. Within her swimming career she’s broken five World Records in short course swimming, and has broken numerous Spanish records in events including the 1500m freestyle, 200m butterfly, 200m IM, 400m IM, 200m breaststroke, 100m IM, 100m breaststroke, and the 800m freestyle – eve breaking some of these records more than five times in her career.
2005 marked Garcia’s first year of international competition. She participated in the 2005 European Junior Championships, having a good performance considering it was her first major meet. In August 2006 Garcia swam at the Junior World Championships held in Brazil, where she became the Junior World Champion in the 400m freestyle and 400m IM. After she won two European Junior Championships titles in the 200m freestyle and 400m IM, Garcia was pulled up to the senior team for the first time.
Best Spanish swimmer in history
Garcia’s regarded as the best Spanish swimmer in history when she became the only Spanish swimmer ever to win two medals in one Olympics – that same year she was awarded the World Sports Award for Best Spanish Athlete in 2012. Garcia has multiple sponsors, including Speedo, and one of her official suppliers is Nike. Due to her success in the pool, Garcia received the distinction of the Government, the “Royal Order of Sporting Merit 2013.”
Senior debut 2007-2008
Garcia participated in her first World Championships in 2007’s Melbourne Championships – she swam the 400m IM, 200m butterfly and 200m IM. By 2008 Garcia had won her first European Championship medal in the 400m IM, which was also a new Spanish Short Course Record. At the Long Course European Championships later that year in Eindhoven, Garcia got the gold in the 200m IM and the bronze in the 200m butterfly – she broke the Spanish Record in both events.
2011 World Championships
By 2010 she was on a roll – At the World Short Course Championships in Dubai Garcia won three gold medals in the 200m butterfly in addition to the 200m and 400m IMs and her silver medal in the 800m freestyle. She then swam at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai, setting the world’s fourth-fastest time in the 400m freestyle.
At the 2012 London Olympics Garcia won two silver medals in the 200m butterfly and the 800m freestyle. Her achievements made Spanish history, and it titled her as Spain’s best swimmer in history. Garcia is only the fifth Spanish swimmer in history to win a medal in the Olympic Games.
2013 World Championships
After the Olympics, Garcia took a small break, but she was right back at it in time for the World Championships in Barcelona. She won the bronze medal in the 200m freestyle, silver in the 200 butterfly and the 400m IM.
Garcia put on a show at the 2014 World Short Course Championships in Qatar. Just on the first night alone, she won two gold medals in the 200m butterfly and the 400m IM, beating the Female Swimmer of the Year, Katinka Hosszu, with come-from-behind swims. Her time in the 200m butterfly was a new World Record, and the first under two-minutes. Garcia is among the world’s fastest 400m freestyle swimmers in 2015.
2016 Rio Olympics
Garcia finished second behind Hosszu in the heats of the 400M Individual Medley and puts her in contention to make the podium in the finals.
Garcia came on strong at the end of the 400M Individual Medley but did not have enough to catch runner up, Maya DiRado. Garcia finished third, winning the bronze medal with a time of 4:32.39.
Garcia won gold in the 200M Butterfly with a time of 2:04.85 just three one hundredths of a second ahead of silver medalist Madeline Groves of Australia, and .35 seconds ahead of bronze medalist Natsumi Hoshi of Japan.
2017 FINA World Championships
Day three of World Championships, Belmonte finished 19 seconds after Katie Ledecky in the 1500m freestyle to win the sliver in 15:50.89, a new Spanish record. The 200m fly Olympic champion wasn’t able to compete at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan due to a shoulder injury, so the race was a redemption of sorts for the national record holder.
Day five of competition in the 200m butterfly final, Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu set the pace on the front half, leading with a 1:00.41 at the 100-mark. Olympic Champion Belmonte made a comeback on the 3rd 50 and held off a blistering 32.23 final split from Germany’s Franziska Hentke. At the finish, Belmonte got her hands to the wall first, touching in 2:05.26 to Hentke’s 2:05.39 to give the Spanish their first ever Worlds title in this event. Hosszu held on for 3rd in 2:06.02.
Day eight in the final of the 400m IM, Belmonte won silver with a 4:32.17. Katinka Hosszu of Hungary won the gold in 4:29.33. Canadian Sydney Pickrem claimed the bronze in 4:32.88.