Mireia Belmonte On Returning To The Water And Her Hopes For Being Flagbearer At Tokyo 2021

Mireia Belmonte Garcia Doha 2014
Mireia Belmonte: Photo Courtesy: FINA Doha 2014

Rio 2016 200m fly champion Mireia Belmonte believes a return to full fitness is some way off after she returned to the water.

Belmonte, the four-time Olympic medallist, is back in the pool working with coach Fred Vergnoux and now planning for Tokyo 2021 after the Games were pushed back a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 29-year-old, who was Spain’s first female Olympic swimming champion, is doing double sessions in the morning and afternoon but does not expect to be at her peak for some time yet.

She told Radio Televisión Española:

“You have to get back into shape but this will not be a matter of days or months.

“This takes a long time because it is about progressing little by little and improving every day.”

Mireia BELMONTE GARCIA of Spain on her way out of the pool after competing in the women's 400m Individual Medley (IM) Heats during the 17th European Short Course Swimming Championships held at the Jyske Bank BOXEN in Herning, Denmark, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013. (Photo by Patrick B. Kraemer / MAGICPBK)

Mireia Belmonte – Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer ©

She added:

“It has been difficult for me to adapt both body and mind, but the body is more difficult because we have not exercised in the water for a long time and it always is more taxing to start it.

“In confinement I have done a lot of cardio, abdominals and also visualisation.

“The goal is to go to Tokyo and be at the top.

“I have always been swimming as much as possible because my training plan allows it.”

So too does Belmonte outline her hopes for being the flag-bearer for Spain which she describes as an honour.

Belmonte has not attended the previous three opening ceremonies given the swimming programme starts the first morning of competition.

She said:

“This year (Tokyo 2021) we are lucky that the finals are in the morning, so the swimming sessions would start in the afternoon.

“We shouldn’t have to get up those early mornings and I would be delighted to be the standard bearer, but that is what the Spanish Olympic Committee decides.

“They have the last word, but it would be an honour to carry the flag of my country as high as possible.”

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