Dubai, Day 5: Lochte (USA), first ever with 7 medals at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m)
Ryan Lochte (USA) and Mireia Belmonte Garcia (ESP) were the best swimmers at the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Dubai (UAE), after getting respectively seven and four medals at the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex. This consecration is not new to Lochte, already the “most valuable” athlete of the competition in 2006 (Shanghai) and in 2008 (Manchester). For the Spaniard, on the contrary, this is a completely new situation, after reaching the podium in the most demanding events of the programme – gold in the 200m butterfly, 200m and 40m individual medley, and silver in the 800m free. At 20, she obtained a significant breakthrough in Dubai, and will surely be one of the swimmers in evidence in the years to come. Lochte, 26, is already a confirmed star and made history in Dubai, by being the first swimmer in the history of the championships to win seven medals in the same edition of the competition.
Overall, 22 countries have medalled in Dubai, and the top-5 nations includes USA (25 medals, comprising 12 gold), Russia (10 medals), Spain (8), China (14), and France (8). Four World Records were established in the five-day competition, while 57 championships records were also set.
Dubai, Day 4: Belmonte Garcia (ESP), a Star is born
The 10th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) consecrated a new star in the women’s events, Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia. Swimming in lane 8 of the 200m individual medley final, Belmonte Garcia got the gold in a new championships record of 2:05.73 and collected her fourth medal in the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex – after the victories in the 400m IM and 200m butterfly, and the silver in the 800m free. An amazing performance in the most demanding races of the programme, proving that the 20-year-old Catalonian (she was born and lives in Barcelona) world revelation has a bright future. At European level, the Spaniard had collected a gold medal in the 2008 long course championships also in the 200m IM, while in 25m-pool, her most brilliant moment had been the triumph in the 400m IM, also in 2008.
In Dubai, Belmonte Garcia is displaying an outstanding resistance and versatility, and for her latest achievement, she defeated China’s Shiwen Ye (14 years old and winner of the 200m and 400m IM at the Asian Games), and US Ariana Kukors, winner of the 100m IM on Day 3 (and of the 200m IM at the 2009 Worlds in Rome). Ye got the silver in 2:05.94, while Kukors was third in 2:06.09. The Hungarian team is definitively not shining in Dubai, with Katinka Hosszu and Evelin Verraszto (2010 short course European champion) in fourth and fifth position respectively.