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A Deaf Argentinian Swimmer Built A ‘Pool’ In His Backyard To Train For The Paralympics

Whether the Olympics will take place next year, as currently planned, remains up in the air thanks to the current coronavirus pandemic. Yet despite the bleak outlook and uncertainty, an Argentinian swimmer is determined to win no matter what.

This week, Japanese Olympic officials revealed a vaccine or drug will be the first point in ensuring the historic games continue. No vaccine could mean no 2020 Olympics, which have already been pushed from this summer to next year. Despite the uncertainty, one Paralympic athlete is keeping his eyes set on the prize.

Sebastián Galleguillo, a member of Argentina’s team of deaf swimmers, is determined to win gold despite the pandemic’s impacts.

In Argentina, it was announced on Wednesday that there have been 136,118 cases and 2,490 deaths related to the coronavirus pandemic. In the early stages of the pandemic, Argentina’s response was to shut down shops, professional services, and outdoor recreation activities. For Galleguillo, this meant that his access to local training facilities was no longer available.

Still determined to keep in shape for the competition, Galleguillo built a makeshift pool in his backyard. 

With the help of his father, Galleguillo set out to build a swimming pool for training in his backyard soon after he lost access to his local training spot. 

“I said to my mom: I want to train again because I am becoming rigid, I am losing mobility in my body … It’s not the same to train outside as being in the water,” Galleguillo told Reuters in a recent interview.

Galleguillo’s father, Edmundo Hernandez, is a bricklayer and proved helpful in building the makeshift pool in their back yard. Using logs, plastic sheets, an old tank, and two metal drums, the two filled the pool with 400 liters of water.

“We made do with what we had here and we started building,” Hernandez told Reuters. “The first day was nailing logs on the floor, the second was putting sheets and plastics so that the water does not drain… Later, we bought a 15-meter-long by 4-meter wide plastic that forms a bag and that is what holds the water.”

Galleguillo’s new pool allows him to practice different swimming techniques which could be a boon.

According to Reuters, his new routine might just “give him a leg up over his competitors at the 2021 Deaflympics in Brazil.”

Normally, the Deaflympics (an International Olympic Committee-sanctioned event) is held one year after the Summer or Winter Olympic Games. Similar to the Olympics they feature sports such as curling, judo, swimming, and tennis. They took place for the first time in 1924 and have occurred every four years since. The only time that they have been canceled was in 1944 because of World War II. After the war, the Paralympics became a more popular division of the Olympics in order to accommodate the large number of war veterans and civilians who had been injured during wartime.

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