Mireia Belmonte

Mireia Belmonte wins 200m butterfly as U.S. extends drought (video)

Leave a comment

Spain’s Mireia Belmonte backed up her Olympic title with world gold in the 200m butterfly, which continues to be a rare weak event for the U.S.

Belmonte, 26, won in 2:05.26, holding off German Franziska Hentke by .13 with Hungarian superstar Katinka Hosszu grabbing bronze.

The race lacked not only the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 finishers from Rio but also both Americans who were eliminated in the semifinals. It’s the first event this week without an American in the final.

The U.S. last earned a women’s 200m fly title at worlds in 1991 (Summer Sanders). Its 26-year drought is the longest of any male or female event.

Similiarly, the U.S. has earned zero Olympic medals in the 200m fly since Misty Hyman‘s shock gold at Sydney 2000. Americans made the podium in all other Olympic pool events in either London or Rio, and most at both Games.

Belmonte earned her first world title after two silvers and a bronze in 2013 and a 1500m free silver to Katie Ledecky earlier this week.

Hentke is Germany’s first female individual Olympic or world medalist since Britta Steffen in 2009.

Hosszu picked up her 11th career individual world medal, breaking her tie with Russian Yulia Efimova for the female record.

Women’s 200m Butterfly Results
Gold: Mireia Belmonte (ESP) — 2:05.26

Silver: Franziska Hentke (GER) — 2:05.39
Bronze: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) — 2:06.02
4. Ahn Sehyeon (KOR) — 2:06.67
5. Zhang Yufei (CHN) — 2:07.06
6. Suzuka Hasegawa (JPN) — 2:07.43
7. Liliana Szilagyi (HUN) — 2:07.58
8. Zhou Yilin (CHN) — 2:07.67

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

WORLDS: TV Schedule | Men’s Preview | Women’s Preview | Schedule/Results

Katie Ledecky eyes more history as women to star at swimming worlds

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The year after the Olympics isn’t always known for it, but there should be fireworks in the women’s events at the world swimming championships in Budapest next week.

Katie Ledecky could match Missy Franklin‘s record of six gold medals at a single worlds by swimming one more event than she did at the 2015 Worlds and 2016 Olympics. Judging by Ledecky’s times at the U.S. Championships last month, the rising Stanford sophomore is in her usual dominant form.

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, swimming in front of her home fans, could try to equal Ledecky with four individual golds in backstrokes and individual medleys.

Swede Sarah Sjostrom could do the same in the 50m and 100m butterflies and freestyles, where world records are under threat.

Ledecky, Hosszu and Sjostrom are all bidding to become the first women to three-peat in an individual event at worlds.

Then there’s the return of the greatest rivalry in swimming. After their memorable Rio duel, King and Yulia Efimova rank Nos. 1 and 2 in the world this year in all three breaststrokes.

Spain’s Mireia Belmonte and American Leah Smith have never won an individual world title, but they could be the busiest swimmers of all next week.

Belmonte could race 7,4000 total meters if she makes every event final. Smith could get up to 7,000 meters. Both would outdistance Ledecky and Hosszu in mileage.

SWIMMING WORLDS: TV Schedule | Men’s Preview | Women’s Preview | Event Schedule

The women’s program could have been even more loaded if not for two notable absences. Australian Cate Campbell, the 100m freestyle world-record holder, is sitting out world champs.

Australia beat the U.S. in the 4x100m free relay at the 2015 Worlds and 2016 Olympics, but without Campbell, the Americans are about even with the Aussies. Ledecky’s bid for six golds could hang on this race on the opening night.

Ledecky also greatly benefits from Sjostrom’s decision to skip the 200m freestyle. In Rio, Sjostrom was the closest swimmer to Ledecky in her individual events, coming .35 shy in the 200m free while outsplitting Ledecky in the final 50 meters.

Key women’s finals:

Sunday, July 23
400m freestyle — Ledecky hasn’t lost a 400m free since the 2012 Olympic Trials
4x100m freestyle relay — Showdown with Campbell-less Australia crucial for Ledecky’s six-gold bid

Monday, July 24
100m butterfly — Sjostrom’s only competition is her world record of 55.48
200m individual medley — Nobody has been within a second of Hosszu this year

Tuesday, July 25
100m backstroke — Kylie Masse was .09 off the longest-standing women’s swimming world record at Canadian Champs
1500m freestyle — Ledecky is 25 seconds faster than anyone else this year
100m breaststroke — Efimova is .13 faster than King this year

Wednesday, July 26
200m freestyle — Ledecky’s toughest individual event made easier by Sjostrom’s absence

Thursday, July 27
200m butterfly — Olympic champ Belmonte eyes first world title; Nos. 2, 3, 4 from Rio absent
4x200m freestyle relay — China is strong, but Ledecky is the U.S.’ ace in the hole

Friday, July 28
100m freestyle — Heavy favorite Sjostrom .02 off the world record in June
200m breaststroke — Efimova is two seconds faster than second-ranked King this year

Saturday, July 29
200m backstroke — Kathleen Baker can inherit throne from retired Maya DiRado 
800m freestyle — Likely Ledecky’s sixth and final event, could match Franklin’s gold record

Sunday, July 30
50m freestyle — No. of sub-24-second times this year — Sjostrom: 6; Rest of World: 0
400m individual medley — Hosszu, after breaking WR by two seconds in Rio, slower this year
4x100m medley relay — U.S. should gap Australia, China on breaststroke leg

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Michael Phelps not itching to return like in 2013

*Correction: The integrity of a Lilly King quote attributed to Agence France-Presse in earlier version of this story has been called into question and was removed. 

Move over Michael Phelps: Hosszu, Belmonte entered in most swim events

Katinka Hosszu, Mireia Belmonte
Getty Images
1 Comment

No swimmer was busier than Michael Phelps over the last three Olympics. Now that Phelps has pared his schedule to three individual events, somebody else has to set the standard for splashes in Rio.

That somebody is actually two people — Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, nicknamed the Iron Lady for her penchant for entering several events in meets local and global, and Spain’s Mireia Belmonte.

They’re both entered in a meet-high five individual events in Rio, according to lists published by FINA on Wednesday.

Olympic Swimming Entries: Men | Women 

Hosszu, 27, will compete in her fourth Olympics, seeking her first medal. Read more about Hosszu’s emotional swimming career here.

Belmonte, 25, is going to her third Olympics. The Spanish star took silver in the 800m freestyle and the 200m butterfly in 2012, when she also swam five individual events (more than Phelps’ four, but she swam one relay to Phelps’ three).

Hosszu is the favorite in the 200m and 400m individual medleys, having swept them at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships. She is also entered in the 100m and 200m backstrokes and the 200m butterfly. Hosszu decided not to swim the 200m freestyle, despite finishing fifth in that event at the 2015 World Championships.

Belmonte is also entered in both medleys and the 200m butterfly; she earned medals in all three at the 2013 Worlds. Rather than Hosszu’s backstrokes, she is entered in the 400m and 800m frees, events dominated by American Katie Ledecky. Belmonte missed the 2015 World Championships due to a shoulder injury.

Also of note, South Korea’s Park Tae-hwan is entered in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 1500m freestyles.

MORE: Rio Olympics schedule, day-by-day highlights