MADRID, Spain, July 8. A pair of sprint freestylers will lead the Spanish charge at the World Championships, scheduled to begin in two weeks in Montreal. After an Olympic performance last summer that saw the nation fail to advance a single male athlete to a championship final, Spain is hoping for some positive results at the end of the month.
Javier Noriega and Eduard Lorente are the top threats to earn a medal, although claiming a berth in the final of the 50 freestyle is a more attainable goal. Noriega enters the World Champs with the second-fastest time in the world this year (22.24) and Lorente is ranked 12th in the world (22.47). Considering that six swimmers dipped under 22.20 at the Athens Olympics, Noriega and Lorente have work ahead.
Spain is also looking for strong efforts from Olaf Wildeboer, ranked 21st in the world in the 200 freestyle and Aschwin Wildeboer, rated 16th on the globe in the 200 backstroke. Meanwhile, Marcos Rivera (800 freestyle) and Erika Villaecija (800 free) are also world-ranked. Villaecija was fifth in the 800 free in Athens, swimming 8:29.04.
The remainder of the Spanish squad headed for Montreal includes: David Ortega, Melissa Caballero, Noemi Feliz, Mireia Garcia, Ilune Gorbea, Sara Perez, Duane Rocha, Tatiana Rouba and Angela San Juan.