PONTEVEDRA, Spain, March 23. MELANIE Costa and Judit Ignacio set national records at the Spanish nationals today, adding another event to their schedules for this summer's world championships, set to take place in Barcelona.
Costa posted a 55.15 in the semifinals of the sprint freestyle event today, breaking Maria Fuster's mark of 55.19 that was set in 2009. This gives Costa a second event for the world championships after qualifying for the 200 freestyle yesterday. Costa will have an opportunity to further lower her national record in tomorrow's final.
As for Ignacio, she dipped under her own Spanish record of 59.21 in the 100 fly with a 59.17 to win today's final. She fell short of the automatic FINA worlds qualification time of 58.89, but will likely be able to swim the event in Barcelona along with the 200 fly, which she automatically qualified in yesterday.
Aschwin Wildeboer, a former world record holder in the long course 100 backstroke, cruised to the top time in the semifinals of that event with a 54.82, easily qualifying for the world championships. Wildeboer was the bronze medalist in the 100 back at the 2009 world championships.
Mireia Belmonte added a fourth event to her world championship schedule with a win in the women's 1500 freestyle, posting a 16:11.11. The event is not swum in the Olympics, but is often a highlight for distance swimmers at the world championships. Erika Villaecija notched her first world championship event with a runner-up time of 16:21.17.
Marina Garcia got an automatic qualifying time in the women's 50 breast, winning with a 31.68, tying the time she posted in semifinals. She was pushing for the national record of 31.14 set in 2009 by Concepcion Badillo.
Marc Sanchez was just a bit off automatic qualification for the men's 800 freestyle time of 7:59.06, winning the event today in 8:01.19. He has qualified, though, for the 1500 freestyle. Hector Monteagudo won the 50 breast today, a day after capturing the 100 breast title, with a 28.12. He just missed the FINA automatic qualifying time of 28.00.
Poland's Konrad Czerniak, the reigning silver medalist in the 100 fly from the 2011 world championships, won that event in Spain today with a 52.62. He posted a 51.15 in Shanghai in 2011 to set a national record and win that silver medal. Rafael Munoz, a former world record holder in the 100 fly, placed second with a 52.72, off the FINA automatic qualifying time of 52.57, but fast enough to likely earn selection for worlds and return to the podium after placing third in the event behind the Michael Phelps-Milorad Cavic duel in 2009.