Europe Recap Day 5: Belmonte Becomes Oldest Olympic 200 fly Champ


Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia won a thriller of a 200 fly on night 5 in Rio, and her swim breaks a number of landmarks in Olympic history.

Belmonte becomes Spain’s first Olympic gold medalist in women’s swimming and she now owns 3 of the 4 Olympic medals in the history of women’s swimming in Spain. Her two silvers in 2012 (800 free and 200 fly) were at that time the nation’s best finishes, and only Nina Zhivanevskaya (bronze in the 100 back in 2000) has medaled at an Olympics for Spain.

Belmonte also becomes Spain’s first gold medalist in any sport so far in Rio, but maybe more significantly, becomes the oldest Olympic champion in the history of the women’s 200 fly. She takes that title from former Australian butterfly queen Susie O’Neill, who won the 1996 gold medal at the age of 22. Belmonte is 25 years old.

Making that more impressive is that Belmonte is coming off a shoulder injury that kept her out of the 2015 World Championships. Shoulder injuries in a butterflyer/distance freestyler getting towards the older end of the age spectrum can be a scary thing, but Belmonte conquered them convincingly, capping her comeback with that big breakthrough gold medal.

European Records Broken On Day 5:

Swimmer Event Time Record
Pieter Timmers M 100 Free 47.8 Belgian Record
Philip Heintz M 200 IM 1:58.85 German Record
Molly Renshaw W 200 BR 2:22.33 British Record
Russia (Andreeva, Openysheva, Mullakaeva, Popova) W 4×200 Free Relay 7:50.52 Russian Record
Maria Ugolkova W 100 Free 54.85 Swiss Record
Susann Bjornsen W 100 Free 55.35 Norwegian Record
Julie Meynen W 100 Free 55.09 Luxembourgish Record
Jenna Laukkanen W 200 BR 2:25.14 Finnish Record
Raphael Stacchiotti M 200 IM 2:00.21 Luxembourgish Record
Alona Ribakova W 200 BR 2:30.82 Latvian Record

Europe Swimming Medal Table As of Day 5:

Hungary 3 0 1 2
Great Britain 1 3 0 4
Sweden 1 1 0 2
Spain 1 0 1 2
Russia 0 1 1 2
Belgium 0 1 0 1
France 0 1 0 1
Italy 0 0 1 1
Total 6 7 4 17

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Steve Nolan

The oldest before this was 22?!? That’s bonkers.

I feel so old.

Ole H Jensen

Jeanette Ottesen’s 53.35 in the W 100 free semifinal was a Danish record.

Coach Mike 1952

Congratulations to Mireia. It is wonderful to see that all the countries are coming up in swimming. Makes racing & watching all the more exciting, real (except for the dopers of course) competition.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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