sWhat matters are the times, not the medals. This is the philosophy with which Hugo González faced the World Swimming Championships in Doha, but one led to the other. With his best mark in the 100 meter backstroke (52.70), the Spanish swimmer was proclaimed runner-up, beaten by just two hundredths of a second by the American Hunter Armstrong. It is the fourth world medal for a Spanish swimmer in this event, after the the bronze and gold by Martín López Zubero (1991 and 1994), the bronze by Aschwin Wildeboer (2009) and the first by Hugo.

Gonzlez insisted and convinced those responsible for Spanish swimming to prepare for the Olympic Games in Paris, California, as soon as he finished his university years, in which he won two team titles with Cal Berkeley. There is no better environment for him than this, training day after day alongside Armstrong and a legend on his back like Ryan Murphy, champion of everything, among other stars of this sport.

In principle, these World Cups did not offer a great incentive for Hugo, who has already achieved two qualifying times for the 2023 Games. Remaining in California training without forcing preparation was as valid an option as attending Doha required by the Spanish Federation. He did this in great fashion, as demonstrated by the result in the first of the four individual events contested. Furthermore, the absence of rivals such as Murphy, world record holder, Italian Thomas Ceccon, or Chinese Jiayu Xu This opened up more possibilities for him to stand out.

Hugo Gonzlez, left, on the podium with Armstrong and ChristouLAPRESSE

The hectometer semifinals gave González the appropriate references to design the appropriate tactics in the final. Entered with the third fastest time (53.22) after returning in the second half of the race, as in the first half he was conservative. He trusted his running. But to aspire to a medal with more guarantees, I had to come out stronger in the final. And he did it, man, he did it.

I swam the first fifty meters half a second faster than the day before (25.53) and turned first. I had never gotten through half the test so quickly. A suicide? No. He had fuel in the tank and enough displacement in his muscles. Armstrong, who was close behind, went straight to victory, but was unable to escape Hugo, who was swimming in the next lane. A tenth faster, the American on his way to the finish line managed to sigh with his long arms in front of the Spaniard, both in the same shot. Only the electronic timer could determine who the winner was and Armstrong had to look closely at the scoreboard to be sure. Hugo resolved his doubts by raising his arm towards his companion in a sign of victory. He almost seemed happier than the American.

“I didn’t know I was fighting for gold. I know I was having a good race because I saw Hunter (Armstrong) up close and I know he's fast and I could tell he was doing well. surprise to be runner-up in the world champion”, admitted Hugo. “I didn't come with the hope of making great marks, but rather to fight, to know how I was at this point in the season and we seem to be doing well”.

The bronze went to the Greek Apostolos Christou, who has the best performance There were 52 seconds left, but this time he didn't go below 53 (53.36) and surpassed his compatriot Evangel Makrygiannis also by two hundredths.

The program will take you to González will swim this Wednesday morning in the 200 meter medley heats.

Arbidel González, semi-finalist in the 200 meter butterfly, but without reaching the Olympic minimum

Tenth with a time of 1:56.77

At the Doha World Cup, Arbidel González's mission was to complete the work he left unfinished at the Fukuoka World Cup seven months ago. There he broke the Spanish record for the 200 meter butterfly (1:54.99), a time below the Olympic minimum, but it wasn't enough for him because he needed to have swum the final, something he didn't achieve. Now all he had to do was do the minimum again. He was also unlucky. He qualified for the semi-finals and was just one second behind the qualifying time for Paris (1m56.77). The last 50 meters seemed very long. He occupied the tenth position. You will have a third and final chance at the summer Spanish Open Championship in June.