Born as Julian Felipe Ballestas to parents, Felipe and Shelee, Ballestas is a butterfly and freestyle swimmer at the University of Michigan. Growing up in Miami, Fla., Ballestas swam for the Metro Aquatic Club and attended Belen Jesuit Preparatory School. Standing 5’9″ Ballestas achieved All-American consideration times in high school, and won multiple Florida High School Athletics Association (FHSAA) Class 2A state championship titles. He’s primarily a mid-distance freestyler, but recently has taken up sprint free and the 200 butterfly. In the 2012 recruiting class Ballestas was the no. 120 recruit in the country according to collegeswimming.com, and he was the 12th-ranked recruit in the state of Florida. Ballestas is Colombian, and has represented the nation internationally in between school sessions at Michigan. He’s currently in his junior year, and is enrolled in the college of Engineering studying Mechanical Engineering.
As a freshman Ballestas was awarded the U-M Athletic Academic Achievement award. He also did not compete at the NCAA Championships or Big Ten meet, but he focused on the Univ. of Michigan Invite.
Ballestas came back his second year on fire, earning Big Ten Swimmer of the Week on Feb. 24. He placed 12th in the 200 butterfly and 19th in the 200 freestyle at the Big Ten Championships. He also competed at the AT&T Winter Championships, finishing 40th in the 200 freestyle.
Ballestas is currently in his junior year as a Michigan Wolverine. At the Big Ten meet he finished 50th in the 50 freestyle, 19th in the 200 freestyle and 12th in the 200 butterfly.
Ballestas represented Colombia at the 2014 South American Championships in Argentina. He was one of only 11 athletes who made the roster, and in 2012 the team finished second behind Brazil.