Many coincidences unite Mireia Belmonte with the Barcelona Swimming Club. She was born on November 10, they have been pioneers in Spanish swimming and have gone through sporting hardships. Now the path unites them, which is the return to competitions of the four-time Olympic medalist, Mireia Belmonte, with the help of CN Barcelona after ten years at UCAM in Murcia. These last few years have not been easy, but she never thought about leaving him. She is still recovering from her shoulder injury, but she knows the importance of taking care of her tempos. He missed the last World Cup, and also the next one in February. But there is a date marked on his calendar: the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. “It is my great challenge. Being in my fifth Games is the motivation that makes me get out of bed every day,” the swimmer, at 32 years old, said today at a press conference at the CN Barcelona. She will forget about the long events and will focus on the 200 butterfly and the 200 and 400 medleys, as well as front crawl. To obtain the Olympic place she must do the minimum in the Open in June 2024, just a month before the Games. “I’m going to take it slowly, but without pause,” Belmonte commented.
Between renovations of the CNB facilities and swimming pools with views of the Barcelona sea, Belmonte has been presented with the president of the club—the first swimming club in Spain—, Bernat Antràs, and the honorary president of the Catalan Federation, Enric Bertrán. “There is no need to present it. It is unmatched”, Antràs began his speech. “For our club it is an extraordinary stimulus. We will do our best to make you feel comfortable. And above all we want you to be happy, and for a stage to begin that hopefully will be longer,” the president added, addressing the swimmer.
His injury has marked his last professional years. At the 2020 Tokyo Games he was 23 hundredths away from the bronze medal in the 400 medley. The physical problems he suffers from his shoulders did not allow him to give his best performance and he took a break. Already in 2015 she missed the World Cup event in Russia to take care of herself, but she returned to the Rio Games the following year to make history and become Olympic champion in the 200 meter butterfly. Her last European competition was Rome 2022, in which she did not reach any final and her best result was eleventh.
And he also missed this year’s Fukuoka Swimming World Cup. She wasn’t prepared. She accepted the break due to her injury, and she also did not qualify for the next World Cup in Doha in February 2024. Her great opportunity for an Olympic spot will be the Open next June. She considers that it is a “perfect date,” and that she can arrive prepared. “I’m going to focus on the shorter tests. In the longer distances, like 800 and 1500 meters, they require longer training and I don’t think my shoulders can handle it,” Belmonte said.
His big debut will be in the Catalan Cup on October 28. And he’ll only do it in 100 styles. He goes without real expectations, neither of time, nor of position. “It will be my first competition in a year. Putting on my competition swimsuit is very important.” Swimming in a tournament next week, he believes, “is a good indicator,” although he still needs to return to the “highest level.”
After ten years he has suddenly left UCAM Murcia, the club where he took refuge after his time at CN Sabadell. But he started at his house, at the CN Badalona, where he overcame his chlorine allergy and swam to recover from his scoliosis. “After finishing a spell with my old club, I wanted to be close to home again. I wanted to have a new project. And I have always liked the CNB. We can do very big things,” Mireia explained.
He has not yet recovered from his injury, but he is “much better.” “I’m swimming a lot. I began to incorporate new things in preparation for new competitions. And for me it is an important motivation to be here. You have to be patient,” Belmonte has recalled several times. He continues working at the CAR in Sant Cugat, although he has changed his routine, and will alternate his training with the CNB pools. Even so, he assures that he needs to compete to know what level he is at. “We have to be optimistic and know that we can play a great role, but taking into account that the injury is very long,” warns the swimmer.
Belmonte never thought about throwing in the towel: “The person who has the most faith in me is myself. I always think positively and that things to come are much better. I have always had those five Olympic Games in mind and doing important things,” he wanted to highlight. And now she wants to try it with CN Barcelona. They were already behind it in 2008, but the agreement has not been possible until now. For now, she is focused on this season and her sports career. “I have other projects for my personal life and with this club we can achieve them in a good time,” Mireia assured. She does not know what will happen after the Paris Games, her great challenge.
“May you be very happy here,” concluded Antràs. Meanwhile, Belmonte smiled at him.
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