Spanish Olympic Trials Preview: Belmonte Takes On Monster Schedule

Loretta Race
by Loretta Race 0

March 17th, 2016 News

2016 XVII CTO. DE ESPAÑA “OPEN” ABSOLUTO DE PRIMAVERA (Spanish Olympic Trials)

Olympic Trials season has begun and Spain’s will take place this weekend with the nation’s best swimmers convening in Barcelona for the 4-day affair, hoping to punch their tickets to Rio. The Spanish Trials are open, meaning there are a few international athletes sprinkled throughout the competition, setting up some exciting action in both the men’s and women’s fields.

The Ortiz brothers are ready-to-go, competing in 8 individual events across the two of them.  Miguel Ortiz sits as the man to beat in the men’s 50m backstroke, as the Ann Arbor-based athlete is the top seed in the non-Olympic event with a time of 24.86. His next highest incoming ranking is that of 51.46 (25m) in the men’s 100m backstroke, placing him 2nd in the psych sheets. 56.26 and 54.36 mark the respective FINA “B” and “A” cuts in that event.

Miguel will also be swimming the 100m freestyle, where he comes into the meet ranked 6th (48.40, 25m) and he is also slated to swim the 50m freestyle. In the splash n’ dash, Miguel is seeded 5th with his 25m mark of 21.94, with brother Bruno Ortiz sitting just behind as the 5th seed in 21.94 (25m).

Bruno will also battle his brother in the men’s 100m freestyle, where Bruno has a leg up sitting as the 3rd seed in 48.00 (25m). Bruno has a solid chance of notching a Rio roster spot in the men’s 100m breaststroke, where he holds the 3rd-fastest time on the psych sheets with his 1:00.13 (25m).

Bruno will battle top seed Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez in that 100m breaststroke race, where the former Florida Gator holds the top time at 1:02.02. That falls under the FINA “B” standard of 1:02.69, but he’ll need to crank out a massive 2 second improvement to dip beneath the A cut of 1.00.57.

Both brothers will see Polish stand-out Konrad Cerniak across the sprint events, with the Pole appearing in the men’s 50/100m butterfly and 50/100m freestyle events. Cerniak holds the top seeds in all 4 events, including the monster 51.37 incoming 100m butterfly time he scored in March of last year. That time would sit as the #2 time in the world currently, so we’ll have to see what form the 26-year-old is in come this weekend.

Taking on a huge schedule is Spain’s do-it-all swimmer Mireia Belmonte, who has proven she is back to form since undergoing stem cell therapy for nagging shoulder bursitis.  The 25-year-old Olympic medalist claimed Spanish Short Course National titles in the 400, 800 and 1500 freestyle events, as well as the 200/400 IM and 200 butterfly races last November.

She is taking on a similar schedule at these Olympic Trials, seeded 1st across the 200m butterfly, 200/400 IM and 400/800/1500m freestyle events. Having pulled out of last year’s World Championships due to the shoulder issue, Belmonte’s first return to long course was January’s Euro Meet in Luxembourg, where she swam to mixed results.

Belmonte notched gold medal finishes in meet record times in both the 400m (4:07.94) and 800m freestyle (8:23.82) events, but fell to 4th in the 200m butterfly (2:11.02), 200m IM (2:15.41) and 400m IM (4:42.58) races. As such, now with additional weeks of training under her belt, the Spaniard is no doubt eager to make a pronounced statement in the long course pool with Rio only just about 140 days away.

Belmonte will have elite company across her key events, however, as Melani Costa Schmidt is seeded right behind her in the 400m freestyle (4:06.50) and 800m freestyle (8:28.58). Schmidt is also swimming the 200m backstroke and 200m freestyle, where she comes into the meet with the top times of 2:10.07 and 1:57.83, respectively, while also slated to take on the 100m freestyle where she sits 2nd (54.18, 25m).

American swimmer Kate Mills, representing Real Canoe, looks to get some good swims in with her schedule of the 100m fly, 200m fly and 200m IM. She’ll be joined in those fly races by Judit Ignacio who comes in as the 1st seed in the 100m and 2nd seed in the 200m with her respective times of 58.32 (25m) and 2:08.70.

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About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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