It's not every day an athlete from the UAE achieves a qualifying time for the Olympic Games – but that's exactly what has happened to Hamilton Acquatics youngster Joaquin Gonzalez Pinero.
Pinero – who's native country is Argentina – achieved the qualification time for the Individual Medley and will be hoping to impress selectors ahead of the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in October.
We caught up with Joaquin to find out more about this promising swimmer and his apirations to make it to the Olympics this year.
1. How excited are you to have the chance to swim for Argentina in the Youth Olympics in your home country in October?
Qualifying for the Youth Olympic Games has been something I have been working towards for a long time so I am very thrilled but this is just the first step as it’s the Olympic Committee who selects the team for the Games so I will continue to train hard and hopefully be racing for Argentina in October.
2. Can you describe the moment you found out you had swam a qualifying time?
It was the final of the 200m individual medley at the Middle East Championships. I was determined to make the time and gave everything I could in the race – when I saw my time had been almost a second faster than what I was aiming for I was extremely happy.
3. How long have you been swimming with Hamilton Aquatics and how important have the club been in your development?
I have been swimming with Hamilton Aquatics for roughly eight years and working my way up through each squad, reaching elite where I am now. The club’s philosophy has played a big part in my development and it has helped me reach the first big goal of my career.
4. Has the Individual Medley always been your strongest event?
The IM has always been my favourite event to race but I’d say my strongest events in the past have been the 200/100m fly and 200m backstroke.
5. What does your training schedule look like between now and the Games in October?
From now until the Games I will continue training hard and working towards other major meets before October. I’ll continue to train eight times a week in the pool with two gym sessions on Mondays and Fridays.
6. Do you have anything you’d like to say to the staff at Hamilton Aquatics for their help and guidance?
I am truly thankful to everyone in the Hamilton team for not only coaching me in my swimming but pushing me to be the best version of myself. A special thanks to my coaches Ash Morris and Chris Allan for being a part of my journey and Marko Bukvic my physio and land-trainer.