Spain's Mengual to come out of synchro retirement

Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:16pm EDT
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MADRID (Reuters) - Decorated Spanish synchronized swimmer Gemma Mengual will come out of retirement and return to competition in the mixed duet event at the world championships in Kazan, Russia, the 38-year-old said on Monday.

Mengual is one of Spain's most successful athletes and has collected nearly 40 major medals including silver in the duet and team events at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

After helping Spain win gold in the free combination at the 2009 world championships, Mengual took a break to have a baby and open a restaurant in her home town of Sant Cugat near Barcelona. She initially planned to compete at the London Olympics but pulled out.

She is now returning in partnership with 19-year-old Pau Ribes to take part in the free mixed duet in Kazan. The pair will not contest the technical mixed duet as they have not had enough time to prepare, the RFEN said.

"We are not planning anything more than just putting on a good showing," Mengual said on the Spanish swimming federation website (

"Probably we won't be among the medals, which will be for the swimmers representing the United States, Russia, Japan and Italy," she predicted.

The world championships start on July 24 and the free mixed duet is on July 28.

(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Award-winning synchronized swimmer Gemma Mengual gestures during the news conference announcing her retirement as a professional athlete at age 34 in Barcelona in this file photo from February 15, 2012.  REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino