Swimming gave us nine medals in the Bolivarian Games. What is the ceiling of our swimmers?

Swimming gave us nine medals in the Bolivarian Games. What is the ceiling of our swimmers?

Swimming gave us nine medals in the Bolivarian Games. What is the ceiling of our swimmers?

April 20, 2024, 8:30 AM

April 20, 2024, 8:30 AM

It’s about total passion. Normally one is used to linking passion with football, but the truth is that it is very latent in different sports and athletes. At least that is the feeling left by the Sucre 2024 Bolivarian Youth Games.

Many sports lovers have never seen, much less practiced, squash, fencing, archery, baseball, etc. Ironically, those sports, foreign to many, gave him medals and joys to Bolivia in these Bolivarian Games.

But let’s not go that far. Swimming, which is something closer to almost all of us who love sports, has ever seen a competition or even had a race with friends in the neighbor’s pool. This water sport was one of the most successful for the country in Sucre 2024.

It turns out that swimming is the second sport that He gave us more medals (there were nine medals; and taekwondo was the first with 10, but he had only one gold).

The swimmers managed to win two gold (both were from Naiara Roca in 100m and 200m breaststroke), while two silver medals went to Thiago Solares in the 50m butterfly and the women’s 4x100m medley relay; and there were five bronze medals: 100m backstroke and 100m butterfly for Agustín Góngora, 50m breaststroke for Naiara Roca, and 4x100m mixed medley relay and women’s free relay.

Without a doubt, Naiara Roca was the one who stood out the most of all the Bolivians, and at just 17 years old she had already told EL DEBER Sports who had more than 150 medals to his credit. The Beniana woman commented in that same conversation that she wanted to study in the United States through a sports scholarship. She sees herself studying and representing Bolivia in the Olympic Games in the future.

And speaking of the Olympic Games, the 2024 edition is just around the corner. They will be in Paris between July 26 and August 11, and At the moment only Héctor Garibay is classified by sports brand.

The athlete from Oruro achieved the minimum mark to be in the Olympic event after 2 hours, 7 minutes and 44 seconds, It was in the Seville marathon, where he finished in 13th place in February 2023. Although four Bolivians are expected to compete in the Olympic Games, the distance runner is the only one who has his name registered by his own brand.

“There are three more athletes who are going to accompany us, one of them is training in Ecuador (Jhoselyn Camargo), and there are two swimming athletes that we do not have a name,” said Marco Arze, president of the Bolivian Olympic Committee to EL DEBER Sport while the Sucre 2024 Bolivarian Youth Games were taking place. The athletes who will go for Wild Card (invitations) will be known until a month before the Olympic competition.

Bolivia will have two swimmers in Paris 2024, and this sport gave the country nine medals in the Bolivarian Youth Games. The figures and results invite us to believe that Bolivia has a great future in swimming. For this reason EL DEBER Sports spoke with Yassir Abdalla, coach of the Bolivian delegation at the Sucre 2024 Bolivarian Games, and swimming coach at the Medley club.

How do you prepare the athlete for a competition?
“The tune-up is done. It is done last the last week before the competition, it is something very individual for each athlete, depending on how they feel. Food and rest are very important… they are the key. In that week they also control the pace they have in the test, and making a strategy for the tests in which they are going to swim. The athlete has to be very careful and, above all, the coach is very careful with the details.

In football we are far behind neighboring countries… How are we doing in this discipline?
“In swimming, in recent times (I’m talking about 6 to 8 years ahead), Bolivia has had a very significant improvement in every aspect. Bolivia has moved from the last places to fight for medals in South American Games and fight for medals in championships Internationally at an individual level. As for team events, I think we are in the middle of the table… we are reaching the levels of neighboring countries. There has been progress in our swimming with respect to time marks and that has been seen since. the basic categories”.

⁠How could we improve and, for example, qualify for the Olympic Games by merit and not by a “Wild Card”?
“For the Olympic Games and brands it takes time, an Olympic brand is not created overnight. Worse considering that we have not had any in history. I think that in about two or three Olympic cycles we can already think about having an ‘A’ mark, without forgetting that that mark is 16th in the world in the previous Olympics, and the ‘B’ mark is very close to ‘A’. Already having an Olympic mark means that you are. Getting among the 20 best in the world in swimming is something that very few South Americans do, it is being among the 16 best in the world. We have to work in the long term to continue improving our national records to be able to have that record for the Olympics. “.

⁠What sports complexes or cities are you best able to develop and grow athletes within the discipline?
“Every department in Bolivia has a 50-meter pool, except Santa Cruz. There are cities in Bolivia that are very well equipped, but they are not knowing how to take advantage of it. Santa Cruz does not have an Olympic pool, we only operate with private club pools and “the best swimming in Bolivia is currently in Santa Cruz.”

How is it possible that the best swimming is in Santa Cruz if they don’t have a regular place to train? Don’t they have support from anyone?
“That is thanks to the clubs, since we do not have support from any sports entity either. From the government there is only the Golden Star (tickets and supplements), but we also do not have any serious sports project that can support an athlete within 8 years. Generally they support when the athlete has already achieved something, not before. That support is super important, that they can accompany the athlete throughout his or her entire process, for two or three Olympic cycles. conditions so that our athletes can continue to emerge, and be at the South American level first, then at a Pan American, and then at a World Cup.”

Although Naiara Roca was the one who stood out the most in the Bolivarian Games, the entire swimming delegation contributed to winning medals. Those who represented Bolivia in Sucre 2024 were Agustín Góngora, Ana Fabia Ovando, André Sánchez, Antonio Peña, Ariana Anaya, Bruna Antelo, Caroline Nagashiro, Cristine Nagashiro, Cristipher Camacho, Dafne Pedrazas, Daniel Clavijo, Franco Ferrufino, Gabriel Omar Ríos, Ignacio Laredo, Loreley Daleney Lacunza, Lorie Rojas, Lucía Ordóñez, Naiara Roca, Pedro Ribera, Stefano Mazzi, Tayra Seoane, Thais Rivero, Thiago Solares, and Yatsen Soza.

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