Mireia Belmonte Garcia Opens Marseille Meet With Impressive Double

MARSEILLE, France, March 1. OLYMPIANS came out to play today in the first day of competition at the Mediterranean International long course meet in Marseille.

Spain's Mireia Belmonte Garcia was the top swimmer of the day, winning the 800 freestyle and 200 butterfly, the two events in which she won silver medals at the London Olympics. She took the 800 free to start the meet with an 8:31.09 to lead a Spanish podium sweep with Beatriz Gomez Cortes second in 8:33.32 and Claudia Dasca Romeu in third with an 8:37.01.

Belmonte Garcia returned an hour later to take the 200 fly with a 2:09.39 in another Spanish sweep. Judit Ignacio Sorribes was second with a 2:10.18, while Dasca Romeu earned her second bronze medal of the day with a 2:13.64.

France's Camille Lacourt, who stands as the third-fastest swimmer in the 100 backstroke, won the 50 back today with a 24.94, a time that would have placed in the top eight at the 2011 world championships, where Lacourt won the silver medal. Great Britain's Liam Tancock, the reigning world champion and world record holder in the 50 back, was second today with a 25.46. Aschwin Wildeboer of Spain took third with a 25.50.

Gregory Mallet, who was part of the French 800 free relay team in London that earned a silver medal, won the men's 200 free today with a 1:50.22, just ahead of fellow Frenchman Romain Magula's 1:50.69. Filippo Barbacini of Italy placed third with a 1:51.28.

Spanish Olympian Mercedes Peris Minguet won the women's 50 backstroke with a 28.38, with Great Britain's Fran Halsall, known mostly as a sprint freestyle and butterfly specialist, second with a 28.93. Cloe Credeville of France took third with a 29.41.

Marina Garcia Urzainqui of Spain won the women's 100 breast with a 1:09.33, while Italy's Elisa Celli placed second with a 1:10.78. Finishing third was Spain's Jessica Vall Montero with a 1:10.84.

Giacomo Perez Dortona of France won the men's 100 breast with a 1:01.48, just ahead of Italy's Francesco Di Lecce's 1:01.94. Maxime Bussiere placed third with a 1:04.13.

The Spaniards took all eight of the championship final spots in the women's 200 free, with two-time Olympian and 2012 short course world champion Melanie Costa Schmid winning with a 1:58.70. Patricia Castro Ortega was second with a 2:00.42, and Beatriz Gomez Cortes finished third with a 2:01.88.

Arthur Angot, representing the local Marseille team, won the men's 1500 free with a 16:18.23, comfortably ahead of Spain's Jordi Bosch Planas' 16:23.23 and France's Erwan Mahoudo's 16:33.52.

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