Hugo Gonzalez is a competitive swimmer who represents Spain internationally. Gonzalez is talented in all 4 strokes and is known for his IM events. He is a 2x Olympian, 2x NCAA Champion, and 3-time world junior championships medalist.
Hugo came to Auburn in the fall of 2017 and made an immediate impact. At the mid-season Georgia invite, Gonzalez broke multiple school records, including 3:39.28 in the 400 IM. At the SEC Championships, he continued to impress, shattering the SEC champ record in the 400 IM with a 3:35.76, as well as taking 2nd in the 200 IM (1:40.76, behind Caeleb Dressel’s NCAA record 1:38.13) and 3rd in the 200 back (1:40.82).
At the NCAA championships, Gonzalez was off his season best times, placing 1oth in the 200 IM (1:42.41), 30th in the 400 IM (3:46.19), and 27th in the 200 back (1:41.41).
After his freshman season, Gonzalez announced he was leaving Auburn, initially intending to follow Auburn associate head coach Sergio Lopez to his new position as the head coach of Virginia Tech. However, Gonzalez ended up returning home to Spain, although still intending to come to Virginia Tech eventually. However, less than 2 weeks later, it was reported that Gonzalez would be ending up at the University of California, which proved to be true.
It was a mystery when exactly Gonzalez would actually be eligible and how many more years he could compete in the NCAA for Cal, and he didn’t race for the bears at all during the spring of 2019. Finally it was announced Gonzalez would compete for Cal in the fall of 2019.
Gonzalez became an impact swimmer for the Bears, and although he forwent the mid-season Minnesota Invite to successfully qualify for the Olympics, he made a return to short-course form on the first day of the Pac-12 championships. In a time trial before the first full day of competition, Gonzalez recorded a 1:51.6 200 breast, a massive personal best. The next day, however, Gonzalez was dealt a DQ in the 200 IM for a false start, where he would have easily made it into the A final. Gonzalez didn’t let it phase him though, as the next day he won the 400 IM in 3:36.60, a big return to form in the event for him. He opted to swim the 200 back on the last day of the meet, placing 3rd in 1:39.66.
The 2020 NCAA Championships would end up being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gonzalez continued to roll in his 2nd season with the bears. At the Pac-12 Champs, he won the 200 IM (1:41.05) and 400 IM (3:37.31) while placing 3rd once again in the 200 back (1:39.18), part of a historic 1-2-3-4-5-6 finish for the bears in that event.
At the NCAA Championships, Gonzalez started his meet with a 2nd place finish in the 200 IM (1:39.99). After a 3:41.91 prelim in the 400 IM the next morning, he missed the A-final. At night, he won the B-final in spectacular fashion (over 5 seconds), clocking a 3:36.73, a time that would have won the A-final. On the final day, Gonzalez placed 3rd in the 200 breast (1:51.20) before anchoring Cal’s winning 400 free relay in 41.78.
At the 2022 Pac-12 Champs, Gonzalez finished 7th in the 200 IM (1:43.14) and 2nd in the 400 IM (3:36.54) and 200 breast (1:50.57), finishing behind ASU freshman Leon Marchand in the two latter events.
However, Gonzalez would get revenge at NCAAs. At the Championships in March, the day after placing 5th in the 200 IM (1:39.82) while Marchand broke the NCAA record (1:37.69), Gonzalez blasted a 3:32.88 400 IM in the final to best Marchand and break the NCAA and US Open records. He went on to finish 10th in the 200 breast (1:51.45) in the final day, helping the bears to their first team title since 2019.
At the beginning of the 2022-23 season, it was unclear whether Gonnzalez would be returning to compete for the bears or not. On September 11, Gonzalez confirmed he wouldn’t be racing with the bears in the fall and was unsure about the spring. On November 21, the NCAA champ confirmed he would be using his last year of eligibility and returning to Cal in the spring.
Gonzalez made his 5th-year debut against Arizona, swimming 1:40 in the 200 free and 50.6 in the 100 fly. The next day in a dual meet against ASU, sophomore Leon Marchand broke Gonzalez’s NCAA record in the 400 IM, swimming 3:31.84 while Gonzalez touched for 5th in 3:57.92.
However, Hugo returned to form by the 2023 Pac-12 Championships, placing 2nd in the 200 IM (1:38.72), 400 IM (3:37.65), and 200 back (1:37.19).
He kept it rolling into the NCAA Championships where he placed 3rd in the 200 IM (1:39.00) and 2nd in the 400 IM (3:34.66) and 200 back (1:36.72). His efforts helped Cal repeat as NCAA team champions.
2016 Olympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
At his first Olympics, Gonzalez advanced to the semi-finals of the 200 backstroke, placing 16th overall (1:59.08) after recording a personal best of 1:57.50 in the prelims. He also placed 20th in the 100 back (54.18).
2017 World Junior Championships (Indianapolis, Indiana)
In Indy, Gonzalez earned 3 gold medals and 1 silver, winning the 400 IM (4:14.65, championship record), 200 back (1:56.69, championships record) and the 100 back (54.27), as well as taking 2nd in the 50 back (25.30).
2021 European Championships (Budapest, Hungary)
Gonzalez took on 3 events in Budapest, swimming the 50 back and then taking a double in the 100 back/200 IM. In the 50, he earned bronze with a time of 24.47. 2 nights later, he swam the final of the 100 back, registering a PB of 52.90 and earning silver. Under an hour later, he swam in the 200 IM finals, dropping a 27.76 free split to touch first in 1:56.76, another PB.
202o Olympic Games
Gonzalez started his Olympic Games off with the 100 back, making it to the final and placing 6th overall with a personal best of 52.78.