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Michelle Alonso, the first swimmer with an intellectual disability to compete

Michelle Alonso.
Michelle Alonso. / F. ALONSO
  • The story of Michelle Alonso, known as the 'Little Mermaid of the Canaries', was the centre of attention at Inacua on Saturday as she became the first swimmer with an intellectual disability to compete in the full Spanish Championships

The story of Michelle Alonso, known as the 'Little Mermaid of the Canaries', was the centre of attention at Inacua on Saturday as she became the first swimmer with an intellectual disability to compete in the full Spanish Championships.

Alonso, 24, has a disability of 37 per cent and has twice won Paralympic medals for Spain (gold in London 2012 and Rio 2016 in 100m breaststroke).

On Saturday in the first qualifiers, she recorded a personal best in the 50m breaststroke with a time of 33.55, in the same series that Jessica Vall broke the Spanish record (31.10).

Alonso qualified for the semifinals in the afternoon but narrowly missed out on the finals with a score of 33.61.

“I am very happy with the result. I didn't expect to make it as far as the semifinals, but once I was there, of course I wanted to get to the final,” she said. “I tried, I suffered... I'm proud to have come this far.”