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2017 CENTRAL AMERICAN MALE SWIMMER OF THE YEAR: MAURO CASTILLO LUNA, MEXICO
Since grabbing a surprise third-place finish in the 200 breast at the 2017 NCAA Championships, Mauro Castillo Luna has been instrumental in Texas A&M’s hot streak.
After popping a 1:52.01 SCY 200 breast in March, he just last week went 2:07.59 in the SCM race at the Mexican National Championships, breaking the Mexican record.
In August, Castillo also boosted his Mexican teammates to a Mexican record in the 4×100 medley relay at the 2017 World University Games, dropping a 1:00.92 breast split.
Despite the a speedy field at the 2017 Art Adamson Invitational in November, Castillo picked up wins in the 100 and 200 breast, took second in the 100 fly, and third in the 200IM. His 52.34 and 1:54.14 in 100 and 200 breast were well over a second ahead of 2nd-place Aggie teammate Jonathan Tybur (53.7 and 1:55.63), and his 46.66 100 fly was a lifetime best.
However, the most uplifting performance of his career may have come the weekend prior to Art Adamson, when he led his team to an upset over the Texas Longhorns. He got the meet off to quick start with his 24.29 breaststroke leg of the 200 medley relay, and followed that up with a win in the 100 breast (53.70) that would put his team in the lead for good. He also threw down a then nation-leading 1:55.93 200 breast, and just for good measure, nabbed the win in the 200IM (1:47.54).
SwimSwam’s Jared Anderson compared Castillo’s November 9th performance to that of a “transcendent quarterback,” in a way that the NCAA dual meet format rarely allows.
In no particular order
- Long Gutierrez, Mexico: As a senior at Cal in his final NCAA Championships in March, Gutierrez made the B-final in the 200 free, going 1:33.50. In his first international meet as a post-grad, he broke Mexican records in the LCM 100 free and 50 fly, going 49.79 and 24.29 at the 2017 World University Games. He also anchored the Mexican record-setting 4×100 free and 4×100 medley relays, going 49.85 and 50.69.
- Marcelo Acosta, El Salvador: For the University of Louisville, Acosta (14:33.68) cruised to 2-plus second win over NC State’s Anton Ipsen (14:35.89) in the 1650 at March’s ACC Championships, but ended up 10th at NCAAs. Since then, he’s solidified his sweep of Salvadorian records in the 100 LCM free through the 1500. He went 52.27 for the 100 record at Central American and Caribbean Games, went 1:50.35 for the 200 record at the Atlanta PSS stop in June, already owned the 400 record from the 2016 Olympics, and nabbed the 800 and 1500 records (7:55.70 and 15:04.79) at the 2017 FINA World Swimming Championships in July.