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I faced my fears and became a world swimming champion

As soon as everything ended, I called my mother. She answered the telephone crying. “Mommy,” I exclaimed, “Gold medal! I’m the champion.”

  • 1 month ago
  • December 27, 2022
5 min read
Picturesque Lake Viverone in Italy set the stage for the 2022 World Fin Swimming Championships in September | Photo courtesy of Jeremy Menoscal
Interview Subject
Jeremy Menoscal won the gold medal at 21 years old in the World Fin Swimming Championships in Italy in September 2022. He currently attends the University of the Arts in Guayaquil and studies theater, in addition to swimming. Jeremy has medaled in numerous other events nationally and internationally, and he holds the national record in the 200-meter. When he qualified for the World Championships in Italy, the Ecaudorian Federation of Diving and Underwater Activities (FEDASUB) covered a portion of his expenses.
Background Information
Fin swimming gained popularity after the sport’s first world championship in 1976 and is now included in the World Games and European Games. Swimmers compete in pools or open areas like lakes. Swimmers use fins and snorkels for surface swimming. If a competition includes underwater swimming, competitors may actually use an underwater breathing apparatus or diving equipment.

VIVERONE, Italy ꟷ I submerged myself underwater in Lake Viverone as I prepared for the CMAS Open Water Fin Swimming World Championships.

Goosebumps covered my skin as I felt the pleasant sensation of warmth on my body. The lukewarm temperature of the open waters felt comfortable. Perfectly crystalline, I could see the seagrass and the algae. As I prepared for the championship, I felt like I could fly. The water’s surface somehow made me feel mellow and confident.

Alone in the open waters, I swam with all my strength

From the moment the world championships in Italy started, my teammates and I swam well, taking the very best positions. We swam three kilometers on the first day. By the end of the second day, two swimmers got eliminated but we kept going.

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With eight of the best swimmers in the world facing off, I eagerly started the third day of competition. I faced two series of 150 meters each. When the race ended, only four swimmers qualified, and I was one of them. I would represent Ecuador in the finals.

I felt amazed, but my nerves erupted. Thoughts filled my mind and sensations swept through my body when the race began. I looked to my side and saw a competitor beside me. It was someone I had beaten before. My confidence soared and I gained the energy needed for the last leg of the competition.

The Ecuadorian team at the World Fin Swimming Championships in Italy in September 2022 | Photo courtesy of Jeremy Menoscal

Up until then, my strategy was to keep a steady pace but to avoid elimination by not overextending myself. That way, I could reserve some physical strength for the most important part of the swim. As the final stage of the race began, I noticed the Italian competitor swimming very quickly.

With all my will, I worked to match his speed. I practically forgot about the other two swimmers as I thought solely about him. When I raised my head, I never imagined being in the lead. I looked around and discovered he had fallen far behind.

I was all alone in the open water, and continued swimming with all the strength I had left. My legs barely responded until I touched the finish line. Not only did I win the competition, but I also broke a world record.

I gave my gold medal to my mother

When I won the gold medal for open water fin swimming, I immediately thought of my mother. As a child who began swimming lessons at eight years old, I fantasized about this moment. She often told me, one day you will do it! You will win a world medal. My mom always believed in me.

As soon as everything ended, I called her. She answered the telephone crying. “Mommy,” I exclaimed, “Gold medal! I’m the champion.”

“Thank you, son,” she replied. This is the result of all our effort.” I recalled that effort: waking up at dawn, adjusting my diet, investing countless hours and money into the sport, and always focusing on my healthcare so I wouldn’t get sick.

Back in Ecuador, I gave the medal to my mother. My dreams came true that day, but so did hers. To this day, my mother remains my biggest fan. In fact, she may be my only fan! While she cannot always be physically present during these milestones, she is the reason for all of it. Her pillar of goodness sustains me.

Soon after, the president of Colombia recognized my achievement as the first Ecuadorian to win a gold medal in a championship of this nature. I felt honored but remained humble. I never allow my wins to make me feel superior or lose the balance between what I have achieved and what I still want to accomplish.

Despite doubt and fear, I never gave up on my dreams

Winning a world championship proved to be a gratifying experience, but now I must build on it. If I can win sponsorships and keep moving forward, one day I can afford to form a swimming club and build a team to train.

I dream of awakening curiosity in children about swimming. This beautiful sport has so much to offer. Unlike other areas of life, in swimming, we are the only ones who set limits for ourselves. If you work hard to move forward, little by little, you can reach any goal you set.

Fear will always exist. I felt it, but I also took risks. From the National Open Water Championship in 2016 to the International Championship in Israel, I moved forward. When I finished in the top 23 in Israel, it wasn’t a gold, but it allowed me to move on to the South American Games and the Pan American Games.

Lingering doubts about my skills remained, but I kept working. When my team went to the Fin Swimming World Championship in Cali, Colombia, we took eighth place in the world in the relay category. It all felt challenging and new, but I did it anyway. I even went for the national record in Ecuador in the 200-meter, but I came up two seconds short.

The point is, I never gave up on my dreams. When I learned that I made it to the world championships in Italy, my heart stopped for a moment. I could barely breathe; and I went on to win the gold. Like my own coaches – Óscar Hernández and Peter Díaz – who invested so much into me, now I want to give that gift back to our youth. One day, I will realize my next dream – to coach our future swimming champions.

Translation Disclaimer

Translations provided by Orato World Media are intended to result in the end translated document being understandable in the end language. Although every effort is made to ensure our translations are accurate we cannot guarantee the translation will be without errors.

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