SWIMNEWS ONLINE: January 1999 Magazine Articles

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Successful Mexican Team

Rewrites National Record List


Nick Thierry

COLLEGE STATION - Mexican swimmers representing Acuatica Nelson Vargas established 18 national records while competing at the FINA World Cup and the US Open.

Most successful among the group was Carlos Arena, who attends the University of Texas. He reached the podium in all three backstroke events at the World Cup. His improvement in the 100 was spectacular. During the prelims he posted a 54.50, and in finishing third in the final he lowered this to 53.90. The old national record was 57.12 from 1995. The field was a strong one with world champion Lenny Krayzelburg (USA) in first in 52.68 and Robert Brewer (USA) second with 53.11. He finished third in the 200 with 1:57.63 and second in the 50 with 25.13.

World Cup medallistsin the 100 back: Robert Brewer, Lenny Krayzelburg, and Carlos Arena
Click image for larger photo.

The team wanted to represent Mexico but the national federation (FMN) did not authorize it. Instead they competed for their club team, part of the largest and most successful swim schools in the world. Acuatica Nelson Vargas owns 13 pools throughout Mexico City and has over 13,000 members.

Other finalists at the World Cup: Guillermo Diaz de Leon, Arizona State University, 5th in the 100 IM with 56.89, and 8th in the 50 fly with 25.18. Josh Ilika, who attends the University of Southern California, was 7th in the 100 fly with 55.00 and 6th in the 200 fly with 2:01.33.

Guillermo Diaz de Leon, Jesus Gonzalez, Carlos Arena, Josh Ilika, Juan Beltran and Nelson Vargas E.
Click image for larger photo.

At the US Open, the 6 swimmers were joined by 16-year-old flyer Juan Jose Veloz, who is training with Bill Rose at Mission Viejo, CA.

There were no medals in the US Open but Jesus Gonzales finished 4th in the 100 fly with 54.52, another national record, and Josh Ilika was 4th in the 200 fly with 2:00.50. Mexican records were bettered 12 times during the World Cup and 6 times at the US Open.

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