Spain Intends To End Pain Of Race-Free COVID-19 Season With Gentle Return At Loulé Meet Mid-August

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 ©

The Spanish swimming team, led by Olympic 200m butterfly champion Mireia Belmonte, is planning to return to racing at the Loulé Meet in the Algarve if the Portuguese event goes ahead on August 14-16.

The Royal Spanish Swimming Federation (RFEN) has named a travelling squad comprised of members of the senior and junior national teams, down to test themselves for the first time in racing during COVID-19 season at the Loulé Meet.

The plan is subject to developments in the coronavirus health pandemic. For now, the border between Portugal and Spain remains open but Spain witnessed a surge of new COIVID-19 infections last weekend. While the surge involved dozens of outbreaks across the country, the worst-hit areas, in Galicia and Catalonia (where several key swimmers, Mireia Belmonte included, live and train), returned to lockdown to stem the spread.

Official data showed that the number of confirmed infections since last Friday increased by 1,244, bringing the total number of registered cases to 251,789 in Spain. All sports events in Spain have been postponed for a further month, while Portugal has indicated that similar moves will have to be made if their is a spike in cases there.

The Loulé Meet is not expected to be one of summer soaring: it will mark a steady return to 50m, long-course racing after the longest training-competition lay-off in the lives of all current swimmers.

The RFEN, described the purpose of the Loulé Meet as an exercise “to obtain the first feelings of competition less that a year to go before the planned … Tokyo Olympics”, now shunted into July 2021. Mireia Belmonte and Co returned to training only a month ago and has spoken about her plans for Tokyo 202one.

hugo-gonzalez

Hugo Gonzalez – Photo Courtesy: Kelley L Cox

The provisional Spain Squads for  the Loulé Meet:

Women:

  • Mireia Belmonte (UCAM Fuensanta)
    Catalina Corró (CN Sabadell)
    Paloma de Bordons (CN Bahía de Cádiz)
    Marina García (CN Sabadell)
    Paula Juste (CN Lleida)
    Lidón Muñoz (CN Sant Andreu)
    Jimena Pérez (CD Gredos San Diego)
    Jessica Vall (CN Sant Andreu)
    Alba Vázquez (CN Colombino)
    África Zamorano (CN Sant Andreu)

Girls

  • Marta Beesmans (CD Gredos San Diego)
    Ainhoa Campabadal (CN Caldes)
    Claudia Espinosa (CD Gregos San Diego)
    Ángela Martínez (CN Elche)
    Paula Otero (CN Arteixo)
    Inés Sancho (CD Gredos San Diego)

Men:

  • Joan Ballester (CE Mediterrani)
    Moritz Berg (Real Canoe NC)
    Álex Castejón (CN Sabadell)
    César Castro (CN Santa Olaya)
    Francisco Chacón (CN Alcalá)
    Miguel Durán (CN Terrassa)
    Albert Escrits (CN Sant Andreu)
    Hugo González (Real Canoe NC)
    Manuel Martos (CN Mare Nostrum)
    Joan Lluis Pons (CN Sant Andreu)
    Raúl Santiago (CN Sant Andreu)
    Juan F. Segura (CD SEK)

Boys:

  • Luis Domínguez (EM El Olivar)
    Nicolás García (CD Gredos San Diego)
    Arbidel González (CN Santa Olaya)
    Marcos Martín (CD Gredos San Diego)
    Alejandro Puebla (CN Cartagena Cartagonova)

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