Mireia Belmonte, double Olympic medallist for Spain at London 2012, put a tumultuous post-Games season behind her with a brace of victories and a fourth place finish for Sabadell on the first day of the 2nd Meeting International de la Méditérranée in Marseilles this evening.
The 22-year-old started the first session of finals off with an 8:31.09 (off 4:15.18 at the half-way mark) win in the 800m freestyle, one of the trio events in which she claimed Olympic silver at London 2012. Her teammates Beatriz Gomez and Claudia Dasca followed the winner home in 8:33.32 and 8:37.01 respectively. They had shadowed Belmonte to 400m before the Spanish champion edged ahead to establish a 2sec lead by 600m.
Next up, Belmonte notched up victory in her other silver-medal winning event from London 2012, the 200m butterfly. On 1:03.47 at the half-way mark, she swept past teammate and early leader Judit Ignacio on the way to a 2:09.39 triumph. Ignacio staying close, on 2;10.18, third place going to the third Spaniard to keep Italians and French at bay, Claudia Dasca, on 2:13.64.
Belmonte finished day 1 of the three-day meet with a 2:02.18 effort for 4th place in the 200m freestyle, world s/c 400m free champion Melanie Costa dominant on 1:58.70, with Spain teammates Patricia Ortega and Beatrice Gomez on 2:00.42 and 2:01.88.
Earlier in the day, Sabadell coach Fred Vergnoux tweeted to Belmonte "100k?"; he could have meant the weekly metreage she will cover in training this week while racing; he could have meant the $100,000 target she may pursue on World Cup circuit later this year. Suffice it to say, Belmonte is getting busy ahead of Barcelona 2013 home world titles come July and August.
Camille Lacourt, of Marseilles, cracked out a 24.94 win in the backstroke dash ahead of fellow Olympic 100m finalist Liam Tancock, of Loughborough, on 25.46, 0.04sec ahead of Sabadell's Aschwin Wildeboer. Lacourt's time was 0.13sec outside the best he achieved in 2012.
Backstroke specialist Mercedes Peris (ESP) was challenged by a rival she meets rarely over 50m backstroke, a 28.38 keeping her ahead of freestyle and butterfly sprint ace Francesca Halsall, who turned over for a 28.93 second place ahead of CloéCredeville, of Nantes Natation, third in 29.41.
The session ended with a tight victory for Grégory Mallet over Marseilles teammate Romain Magula, 1:50.22 to 1:50.69, in the 200m freestyle. Third went to Filippo Barbacini of Italy' Emilia Romagna in 1:51.28.
In other action, Giacomo Dortona, of Marseilles, clocked 1:01.48 to keep Francesco Di Lecce, of Torino in Italy, at bay by 0.46sec in the 100m breaststroke, all others outside 1:04. The women's equivalent went to Spain's Marina Garcia in 1:09.33, ahead of efforts of 1:10.78 and 1:10.84 by Elisa Celli, of Italy's Emilia Romagna, and Spain's Jessica Vall.
Gallego Peralta of the Real Canoe club in Spain, took the men's 200m butterfly in 2:01.12, while the 1500m freestyle went to 16-year-old Arthur Angot, of Marseilles, in 16:18.23.