Day 1 Prelims All-Star: Jorge Mario Murillo Valdes


Each day after the Olympic preliminary sessions have concluded, we’re going to award a ‘Prelim All-Star’, someone who had a great morning swim and made a significant improvement, though is still a ways away from being a true medal contender.

There were a few worthy candidates this morning, but ultimately the award goes to Jorge Mario Murillo Valdes of Colombia, who took over half a second off his entry time to qualify for the semi-finals of the 100 breast despite competing against a loaded field.

Murillo Valdes came into the competition entered at 1:00.53, set at the Pan American Games last summer in Toronto where he just missed a medal finishing 4th. He was ranked tied for 26th in the psych sheets, but overcame the odds and put up a time of 59.93 to qualify 14th overall. Murillo Valdes’ best ever time was actually done in November of 2015 in Colombia, where he went 1:00.23. His swim today also breaks his own national record.

Murillo Valdes isn’t a newcomer to the international stage, competing at the 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015 World Championships, but this was his first Olympic swim and the first time he’s advanced out of the prelims at this level of major competition.

Honorable mentions for the award are Jordan Pothain of France and Joan Lluis Pons Ramon of Spain, both of whom surprisingly cracked the final of their respective races, the 400 free and 400 IM.

Pothain, seeded with a time of 3:47.77, dropped over two seconds to win heat five in a time of 3:45.43. Not being in one of the two circle seeded heats, Pothain had to wait to see his fate. Once all the results were in, he finished 8th, a very impressive swim after being seeded just 22nd coming in.

Pons Ramon basically did the same thing Pothain did in the 400 free in the 400 IM, he took two seconds off his best time and qualified 8th for the final. Pons Ramon came in with a best time of 4:15.49 set at the Spanish Open in March, and has only been under 4:20 two other times in his career. He came in and executed his swim perfectly, posting a time of 4:13.55 to finish 2nd in heat two to Australia’s Travis Mahoney. Like Pothain, Pons Ramon had to wait, but ultimately qualified 8th for the final after Germany’s Jacob Heidtmann was disqualified (who initially was faster than Pons Ramon).

The time from Pons Ramon was also a new Spanish national record.

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About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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