Mireia Belmonte Leads 24-Member Spanish Squad To European Championships

MADRID, Spain, April 17. SPAIN won three gold medals at the last outing of the European championships in 2012, where many of Europe’s best sat out to prepare for the Olympics or were not in peak form. Spain’s top swimmer, Mireia Belmonte, was likely one of those swimmers, but this summer she’ll be eyeing multiple gold when the competition begins in Berlin in August.

The Spanish swimming federation, in releasing the roster this week, did not list the events in which athletes qualified, but Belmonte is likely to be the busiest Spaniard in the pool. Last year at the world championships she competed in multiple finals in butterfly, freestyle and IM, winning three medals. Belmonte will be looking to repeat as European champion in the 1500 freestyle after a stunning 15:58.07 last week at nationals, but will likely have Denmark’s Lotte Friis as a challenger. Friis is the second-fastest performer in history, but Belmonte continues to improve and could provide an interesting race. Belmonte will also contend with double world champion Katinka Hosszu in the IMs and 200 fly. Whatever the result, Belmonte will continue to showcase her incredible versatility in the pool.

Four swimmers who are based in the United States at various universities were also named to the team. Bruno Ortiz helped the Michigan Wolverines place fourth at the NCAA championships last month, while his brother, Miguel, is in his first year as a postgrad swimmer. Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez swam well for Florida at NCAAs, and could find himself in championship finals at the European championships. Though she did not have a great end to her freshman season, California’s Marina Garcia could recover and race the world’s best breaststrokers in Berlin. Garcia was a finalist in the 200 breast at last year’s world championships.

Other names to watch include 400 free world silver medalist Melanie Costa and 50 fly world record holder Rafael Munoz.

Mireia Belmonte, Melani Costa, Jessica Vall, Beatriz Gomez, Maria Vilas, Duane da Rocha, Mercedes Peris, Marina Garcia, Judit Ignacio, Catalina Corro, Fatima Gallardo

Marc Sanchez, JM Rando, Eduardo Solaeche, Rafa Munoz, Melquiades Alvarez, Albert Puig, Miguel Duran, Antonio Arroyo, Carlos Peralta, Markel Alberdi, Victor Martin, Miguel Ortiz, Bruno Ortiz