Top 5 Women’s Stories Ahead of the 2022 Mare Nostrum Tour – Monaco


The first stop of the 2022 Mare Nostrum Tour is set to kick off in Monaco this weekend. Although the field is slightly smaller than the ones expected in Barcelona and Canet later this month, there are still several crowded events and storylines we’re following.

Ingrid Wilm Riding Momentum

After just missing out on qualifying for the Olympic Games last summer, Canadian backstroker Ingrid Wilm had a breakout ISL season in the short course pool. Throughout the season, Wilm re-broke the Canadian 100 backstroke record multiple times, first swimming a 55.94 in match 4 to shatter Kylie Masse’s previous record and become the first Canadian woman under 56 seconds. She later dropped times of 55.68 and 55.61, lowering her own record again in matches 5 and 6.

Although she missed out on making Canada’s team for the 2021 Short Course World Championships due to the selection policy, Wilm showed up to the Canadian World Championship Trials in April ready to drop some impressive performances. She started by posting a personal best in the 100 backstroke to nearly run-down Taylor Ruck for a spot on the Worlds team, ultimately placing 3rd in a time of 59.75. She later earned her spot on the team by placing second to Kylie Masse in the 50 backstroke with a time of 27.80, coming in over a half second under the FINA “A” cut.

With her Worlds qualification locked-up, Wilm looks to be riding her momentum into Monaco. Expect her to drop some big swims here, especially if she’s pushed by the field. Currently, Wilm is slated to swim the 50 backstroke, 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke, and 50 butterfly at the meet.

Tennessee Duo Making International Debut for 2022

Although a majority of American NCAA stars made their long course debut at the US International Team Trials, several international stars still have not raced at a major international competition yet this season.

Among those expected to be competing in Monaco are Irish stars Mona McSharry and Ellen Walshe, who both compete collegiately at the University of Tennessee. McSharry placed 4th in the 100 breaststroke at the 2022 NCAA Championships with a personal best of 57.18. If she can replicate her performance in the long course pool, McSharry could make some waves here. Like McSharry, Walshe had a strong NCAA Championships performance that saw her make the A-finals of both the 400 IM and 100 butterfly. Walshe also won SEC titles in both events this season, along with the 200 IM, making her one to watch at the upcoming World Championships.

This weekend, McSharry will contest the 50, 100, and 200 breaststroke, while Walshe is entered to swim the 200 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 200 IM, and 400 IM. Although neither swimmer is seeded atop their events, they have certainly shown the potential to move up the rankings.

Mireia Belmonte Garcia Making A Comeback?

When the psych sheets dropped for Monaco, we were most surprised to see entries from Spanish Olympic gold medalist Mireia Belmonte Garcia in the 200 butterfly, 200 IM, and 400 IM. The 2016 Olympic gold medalist in the women’s 200 butterfly has struggled with various injuries for the past couple of years that have kept her out of competition. Some believed she may have retired from competitive swimming following her 4th place showing in the 400 IM at Olympics last year due to her lack of competition and absence from Spain’s 2022 Worlds Championships roster.

It’s hard to anticipate where Belmonte will place in her events as she hasn’t competed since Tokyo. She also still has time to scratch from the meat entirely. However, if she does decide to compete, Belmonte may be in for multiple podium finishes.

Young Stars Headline Women’s Breaststroke Events

In addition to the aforementioned McSharry, there are several other young stars looking to claim victories in the breaststroke events this weekend. The field is headlined by 18-year-old American Lydia Jacoby, who is the reigning Olympic Champion in the 100 breaststroke. Jacoby is entered to race the 50, 100, and 200 breaststrokes in Monaco and she currently holds the top seed in the 100 breaststroke. At last month’s US International Team Trials, Jacoby narrowly missed out on qualifying for the World Championships, making this one of her only international competitions this summer.

South African Lara Van Niekerk is another 18-year-old slated to contest the 50 and 100 breaststroke races. At the 2022 South African Championships, Van Niekerk stuned reigning Olympic silver medalist Tatjana Schoenmaker to claim gold medals in the 50 and 100 breaststroke, swimming personal bests in both events. With her swims, Van Niekerk qualified for her first World Championships. She currently holds the 3rd seed in the 100 breaststroke and the top seed in the 50 breaststroke.

Siobhan Haughey’s Long Course Debut

At the 2021 Olympic Games last summer, Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey made history by becoming the first person in the country’s history to win two Olympic medals, taking home silver medals in both the 100 and 200 freestyle. She followed up her performance in Tokyo by dominating the ISL as a member of Energy Standard, going undefeated in the 200 freestyle and breaking the Asian record in the 100 freestyle. After the ISL season concluded, Haughey wrapped up the short course season by winning a gold medal in the 200 freestyle at the 2021 Short Course World Championships, breaking Sarah Sjostrom’s World Record in the process.

Coming into this season, Haughey has a lot of momentum behind her. Plus, with the absences of Katie Ledecky and Ariane Titmus, Haughey looks primed to win her first Long Course World Championships gold medal in the 200 freestyle later this summer. Her performances in Monaco, and throughout the rest of the Tour, will be a good indication of just how fast Haughey may go this season. She is slated to swim the 50, 100, and 200 freestyle events here, setting her up for some great battles with the aforementioned Sjostrom.

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1 month ago

So happy to see Belmonte swim again

Reply to  Tris
1 month ago

She swam the nationals in April. Not her best performance, that’s why she didn’t qualify for the worlds.

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller

Nicole has been with SwimSwam since April 2020, as both a reporter and social media contributor. Prior to joining the SwimSwam platform, Nicole also managed a successful Instagram platform, amassing over 20,000 followers. Currently, Nicole is pursuing her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she is an active …

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